Liverpool

PC Dave Phillips funeral: Hundreds of police officers attend

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Media captionPC Dave Phillips' sister, Hannah Whieldon, said her brother believed there was good in everyone

Hundreds of police officers from across the UK have attended the funeral of Merseyside PC Dave Phillips, who died when he was struck by a car.

Mourners were led by Mr Phillips' widow Jen, while daughters Abigail and Sophie lit a candle in memory of their father.

The cortege, led by a pipes and drums band, made its way through Liverpool to the Anglican Cathedral.

Mr Phillips, who was 34, died on 5 October when he was hit by a vehicle in Wallasey.

PC Phillips' police hat was placed on the top of his coffin, which was draped in a Merseyside Police banner decorated with the force insignia, while a blue-and-white floral tribute read "Daddy".

The coffin was carried out of the hearse and up the steps of the cathedral by uniformed colleagues, through a guard of honour formed by other police officers.

The Reverend Lyndon Bannon, assistant priest at Willaston Christ Church, described him as "a loving gentleman" and said his widow Jen was an "inspiration".

He said that Mr Phillips had "served the nation" and put his life on the line every day.

Image copyright Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Image caption Hundreds of mourners filled Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral

Mr Bannon added: "If you want to see how many lives he has touched for the better, if you want to know how much he meant to everybody, then simply look around you. Look around at the immense number of people who have gathered here today from across the whole United Kingdom.

"Dave was a happy, loyal, hard-working, loving, genuine person. He was quite simply Jen's best friend."

Mr Phillips' sister, Hannah, paid tribute to her "selfless and giving" brother. She said he was a devoted family man and "our beacon for good".

She said he had the hymn The Lord is my Shepherd stored on his phone so the family would know what to sing at his funeral.

His colleague Dave Lamont said he had a "fantastic patience" and was "very disciplined".

Image copyright Reuters/Darren Staples
Image caption Mourners were led by PC Dave Phillips' widow Jen, their daughters and members of their family
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Hundreds of uniformed officers joined the cortege

Another of Mr Phillips' sisters, Kate, addressed the congregation with a poem which spoke of "the brightest star in the sky".

The procession had paused outside Merseyside Police headquarters, allowing colleagues to pay their respects alongside the public.

Ron Robinson, 66, from Hoylake, Wirral, said: "I am retired after 37 years with the coastguard and just wanted to pay my respects to a fallen comrade from the services.

"He did not expect to go to work and not come back. No-one expects that."

Pensioner Beryl Thomason, from Moreton, said: "When I heard it happened, I could not stop crying. I think it is absolutely awful what happened to him and I had to come to pay my respects."

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Media captionAerial footage shows the length of the funeral cortege ahead of the service
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Image caption A policeman wiped tears from his eyes
Image caption Police officers from across the UK travelled to Liverpool for the funeral in full dress uniform, with poppies and white gloves

From the cathedral: BBC News reporter Helen Carter-Bennicke

A sea of black tunics stretched down Duke Street as far as the eye could see outside Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral on Monday morning.

The city fell silent except for the distant sound of a drill from a construction site.

PC Phillips' widow Jen followed the hearse with her elder daughter Abigail, seven. Her younger child, Sophie, was carried by one of the mourners.

As the cortege passed Canning Place, the Merseyside Police headquarters, the sound of the pipe band and the clopping hooves of the police horses added to the poignancy of the occasion.

Drivers on the other side of the Strand, heading to the Three Graces, paused to look over, some bowing their heads respectfully.

A lone piper played a lament as about 2,000 officers streamed into the cathedral.


Image copyright REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Image caption A hearse carrying PC Phillips' coffin arrived displaying his police "collar" number, 6554
Image copyright Merseyside Police

'One of our finest'

Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy spoke of PC Phillips as an officer who showed "dedication, humility and great courage in serving his community".

He described him as "caring, compassionate and resolute" and "a man we are all proud to say was one of us and was one of our finest".

A blessing from the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes, said: "Members of the Police Service, you must know that we will remember you as you go back to your duty and keep us safe. May God give you all the comfort and his peace, his light and his joy in this world and the next."

Mr Phillips' coffin was carried away as mourners applauded, clapping louder and louder as the pallbearers passed each individual row.

A private family service was due to follow.

Mr Phillips died after a pick-up vehicle mounted a central reservation where he was standing. Five people have been charged in connection with his death, including Clayton Williams, 18, from Wallasey, who is charged with murder.

Image copyright Reuters/Andrew Yates
Image caption Mr Phillips' widow Jen comforted daughter Abigail
Image copyright Reuters/Darren Staples
Image caption The cortege arrived as the fog lifted slightly at the cathedral

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