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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Victim's widow's faith in future
By Paul Burnell
BBC News in Manchester

Kamel Bourgass was convicted last June of the murder of Detective Constable Stephen Oake during a police raid in Manchester. Only now, after Bourgass was found guilty of plotting to spread ricin, has the media been able to report that conviction, and its effect on the officer's family.

The Oake family
The family has been overwhelmed with support
In the two years since her husband was murdered during the arrest of a terror suspect in a Manchester flat, there have been many days when Lesley Oake has not wanted to leave her bed.

DC Stephen Oake, 40, was hailed as a hero and a model policeman for his role in the arrest of Kamel Bourgass.

Bourgass was jailed for life in June 2004 for DC Oake's murder but the Oake family's reaction can only be told after the lifting of reporting restrictions following the conviction of Bourgass at the Old Bailey on Wednesday on a charge of plotting to spread ricin.

Mrs Oake has no doubt what sustained her in the "rollercoaster" days since 14 January 2003 - her children Christopher, 17, Becki, 16, and Corrine, 14, her Christian faith and the continuing letters of love and support she receives.

She was devastated by the loss of her "lovely" husband but said: "His spirit lives on within the children and now we're that much further on we are able to think of the happy times.

We must move on and not let the bad guys win
Lesley Oake
"The children have been fantastic - they're young and they've got their future to look forward to."

The family were committed members of Poynton Baptist Church in Cheshire and Mrs Oake said her faith had also helped her survive.

"We wouldn't have been able to cope without having God to cling to. We hope that one day we will see Steve in heaven," she said.

It is a theme picked up by her father-in-law Robin, a retired policeman and also a devout Christian.

Killer forgiven

Mr Oake said the day after the murder he forgave his son's killer and, after seeing Bourgass in court, added: "I will carry on praying for this man so that first of all he knows he's forgiven by us but also that he himself might find peace with God because he's a very mixed-up young man."

The family say they are overwhelmed with the ongoing messages of support they receive.

Mr Oake said: "What's been really lovely - and what's not reported - is the goodness that's out there.

"The love of people has helped all of us get through this - we must move on and not let the bad guys win," said Mrs Oake.

Detective Constable Oake's family speak of their loss

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