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Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 20:06 GMT
Family pays tribute to dead officer
Stephen Oake's father, Robin
Robin Oake also worked for Greater Manchester Police
The father and wife of the policeman stabbed to death during a counter-terrorism operation in Manchester have paid personal tributes to him.

His father Robin Oake, a career policeman with 30 years' experience, said he was "seeking God's forgiveness" for his son's killer.

Special Branch Detective Constable Stephen Oake, a 40-year-old father-of-three, died after a raid linked to the discovery of the poison ricin in a north London flat last week.
You won't find anybody with something remotely negative to say about him

Assistant Minister the Reverend Mark Elder

His wife of 20 years, Lesley Oake, said he was a "wonderful father" and a "fantastic husband".

Mr Oake Sr, who is the former chief constable of the Isle of Man and served with the Manchester force himself, said his son had his heart in all aspects of police work.

'Christian faith'

Mr Oake Sr said: "I am praying for the perpetrator of this killing and seeking God's forgiveness for him - praying also that he may now seek God himself and find peace and forgiveness with him."

Stephen Oake
Stephen Oake was killed during counter-terrorism work
He recalled how his son had joined Greater Manchester Police in 1984 and had served in central Manchester before working his way up through the traffic department and into Special Branch.

Mr Oake Sr said: "Following the tragic death of Stephen, my son, and former colleague in the Greater Manchester Police, I simply want to pay tribute to him, his forefront work with Special Branch in his latter years and his gracious Christian faith.

"Obviously my first thoughts are with his lovely wife Lesley and their three children - Christopher (15), Rebecca (14) and Corinne (12)."

Devastation

Mr Oake Sr, 65, added: "When I left the force to come to the island in April 1986, he carried on the family name in Manchester."

A policeman delivers a tribute for Mr Oake
Scores of people have paid tribute to Mr Oake
He spoke proudly of Stephen's work, including the arrest of two armed robbers in Salford and looking after an Israeli prime minister during a visit to Britain.

His wife Lesley, also praised her husband's love of policing.

In a statement issued through Greater Manchester Police, Mrs Oake said: "He loved us all so much and brought so much joy and fun into our lives.

"He was also the most dedicated policeman, who was driven by his desire to save the community and protect the public.

"This terrible act has totally devastated our lives, and we are in total shock that someone could do something like this."

Praise for Stephen also came from Greater Manchester Chief Constable Mike Todd, who said: "The Special Branch officers, including Steve, very bravely went to assist their colleagues and that's how he has been fatally stabbed."

Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation, said: "Stephen paid the ultimate sacrifice last night for his family and for the families of the police officers who have been injured."

'Respected man'

Stephen Oake had lived in Poynton, Cheshire, with his family and had been a member of the local Baptist Church for more than 10 years.

Assistant Minister the Reverend Mark Elder described the detective as a "respected man of faith" with "so much integrity about him".

As the congregation gathered to say prayers for Mr Oake the minister said: "You won't find anybody with something remotely negative to say about him.

"His Christian faith was the driving force in his life. He had strong family values. He lived by those values and was a devoted family man."

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Father Robin Oake
"I want the man who killed Stephen to know my forgiveness"

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15 Jan 03 | Politics
14 Jan 03 | England
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