Killed on Duty in 1978
Nottinghamshire Police Federation Chairman Mark Petrovic said “Sunday the 17th of May 2020 is the anniversary of Christopher’s death, when he was so tragically killed whilst out and about fighting crime. He was the first ever Police officer in Nottinghamshire to be killed in the line of his duty.”
“Even though this was 42 years ago, I would like all our Police Family to take time and reflect on what a brave officer Christopher was. He was only 19 years old.”
“We have today laid a wreath at Police Headquarters in memory of Christopher. We still keep in touch with Christopher’s mother and sister, so that they know that his Police family will always remember him.”
Christopher’s sister Elaine ATKINSON DEAN said “The family are really grateful that Christopher is remembered in so many different ways by the Police, from the anniversary of his death through to the Unity Tour and National Police Memorial Day. Sadly that event has been cancelled this year because of the Covid19 crisis. It is nice to see Nottinghamshire Police remembering their own.”
Christopher was born on the 19th of March 1959 and joined Nottinghamshire Police in 1976 as a police cadet and completed his police training at the National Police College at Dishforth.
After his training the Police Constable was posted to police the Worksop area. At that time the Police were investigating a series of commercial burglaries committed overnight around Worksop town centre.
On the 17th of May 1978 Christopher was working a night shift in Worksop and was alone on foot patrol when he came across a jewellers shop premises being burgled. He bravely confronted a gang of offenders who subsequently fled the scene.
Christopher gave chase, running towards the river Ryton and managed to alert other officers over the radio about the crime. The last report Christopher made over his radio was at 1228 hours in the early hours and said “I AM CHASING MEN OVER THE WASTE GROUND…”
As a consequence a number of Police Officers attended the scene and commenced a huge search of the immediate area. Despite all these efforts, Christopher could not be located.
With daylight the searches continued and Christopher’s body was later found in the river, 200 yards away from the scene of the crime. A later post mortem revealed that Christopher had sustained multiple head injuries and had drowned.
Later that same day 20 year old Peter Albert LOVEDAY was arrested on suspicion of the murder. LOVEDAY had admitted fighting with Christopher and using his truncheon and a brick to beat him about his head and face. LOVEDAY then claimed that he left Christopher by the side of the river. Pathologists stated that due to the state of his injuries, Christopher would not have been capable of moving.
At the end of the trial in August 1978, LOVEDAY was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In 1980 Christopher was posthumously awarded the Queens Commendation for Bravery.