Page last updated at 15:26 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 16:26 UK

Shot policewoman 'loved by all'

Sharon Beshenivsky
Sharon Beshenivsky had three children and two stepchildren

Sharon Beshenivsky had been a police officer for just nine months when she was shot dead outside a Bradford travel agency on 18 November 2005.

She had responded to an armed robbery call with fellow Pc Teresa Milburn, unaware the day would be her last.

Killed on her daughter's birthday, Mrs Beshenivsky became the first female officer in 20 years to be shot dead by a criminal in England and Wales.

She was well-known among colleagues for her infectious laugh and enthusiasm.

After her death, husband Paul described his 38-year-old wife as "my rock", and said she was loved by everyone.

I think her inspector said it all for me when he said he would have liked 30 Sharons on the shift
Colin Cramphorn, former West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable

He said the day she died started as "such a happy day" with their youngest daughter Lydia celebrating her fourth birthday.

He said: "She [Lydia] waited excitedly for her mum to come home. When Sharon was late I knew something was wrong.

"It breaks my heart to think that I will never hear her infectious laugh again, to think she won't be here to see our children grow.

"The people who did this to Sharon and to Teresa and to our families are cowards.

"They took away my wife, but they also took away a wonderful mum, and the world is a darker place without her."

Sharon Beshenivsky's family at her funeral
Paul Beshenivsky (l) said his wife was loved by everyone who met her

He said his wife was proud to be in the police force.

"Her enthusiasm for the role spread to us all and we supported her throughout.

"She lost her life trying to protect people and that was Sharon all over.

"She always put others first and would do anything to help someone out if they needed it."

Mrs Milburn said Mrs Beshenivsky was not just a colleague but a "dear friend".

"Sharon and I enjoyed working together immensely," she said.

West Yorkshire Police's then Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn, who has since died, said: "I think her inspector said it all for me when he said he would have liked 30 Sharons on the shift."

Mrs Beshenivsky, a former childminder, had worked as a police community support officer for two years before becoming a police officer.

She lived with her husband in a converted barn in Keighley, West Yorkshire, and had three children and two stepchildren.

Pc Beshenivsky's funeral procession
More than 400 police officers attended Pc Beshenivsky's funeral

Four months before her death, Mrs Beshenivsky had been assaulted by Andrew Maguire, from Manchester, when she responded to an incident in Bradford.

In January 2006, after admitting assault at Bradford Magistrates' Court, Maguire apologised to her family and said he appreciated how the police risked their lives to protect the public.

Mrs Beshenivsky's untimely death shocked the nation.

A week after her murder hundreds of people observed a two-minute silence at a memorial service at Bradford's Centenary Square.

And more than 400 police officers joined thousands of mourners for her funeral at Bradford Cathedral in July 2006.

In May Prime Minister Gordon Brown unveiled a permanent memorial to the officer at the site of the shooting in Morley Street.

Mustaf Jama, who was found guilty of murder of Wednesday, is the sixth man to be convicted in connection with Pc Beshenivsky's death.



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