Family members and police chiefs pay their respects at special service for Romford Pc murdered 90 years ago
- Credit: Archant
The sacrifice of a police officer brutally murdered while on duty 90 years ago this week was commemorated with two separate services at the weekend.
Pc George Gutteridge was murdered while on duty on a road between Stapleford Abbotts and Romford on September 27 1927 in a brutal shooting that rocked the nation.
National reporters descended on the small rural village, and countless column inches were devoted to the callous murder of a man who was working to protect the public.
Two men were hanged for the killing, but due to funding difficulties in the late 1920s a memorial plaque was not erected at his local church in Stapleford Abbotts – until last year.
On Saturday, a small group including members of Pc Gutteridge’s family gathered at St Mary the Virgin church, in Church Lane, Stapleford Abbotts, to once again pay their respects to his memory.
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Prayers were read by Rev Canon Roger Gayler as the congregation, which included representatives from a number of police forces such as Essex Police’s Epping Forest and Brentwood district commander Ch Insp Lewis Basford, honoured Pc Gutteridge’s sacrifice.
Historian Bernard Mullin, who played a pivotal role in getting the memorial plaque erected last year, told the Recorder the celebration was “an appropriate and valuable opportunity” to acknowledge Pc Gutteridge’s sacrifice.
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He said: “It was a really great day actually – I think we managed to capture the same gravity as the unveiling of the plaque a year ago and I was really pleased by the turn-out.
“The vicar spoke to me afterwards and said it was a pleasure to have so many people attend such a small service.
“Obviously this one was a bit special, as it’s been ninety years – some people were talking to me about doing it every year but I’m not too sure about that yet.”
After the church service, a procession was held from St Mary the Virgin to the small roadside monument that marks the spot Pc Gutteridge lost his life.
There, another brief service was held, and a representative from the National Association of Retired Police Office laid a wreath in honour of the tragic event that took place there 90 years before.