The widow of a Nottinghamshire police officer killed in the line of duty has revealed how he was just a few hours from clocking off for the day before tragedy struck.
On the 18th anniversary of his death, the widow of PC Ged Walker, Tracy Walker, has reminded the public of the human being behind the uniform in a powerful interview with Nottinghamshire Police.
Ged was due to finish his shift and join his wife at a family event on the day he was killed by David Parfitt on 7 January 2003.
“It was just a routine call. Ged had gone to his colleague’s aid after a check on a parked car showed it to be stolen,” explained Tracy.
“The officer had started a chase and called for backup. Ged, who was nearly due to finish his shift, went to back him up.
“The offender had leapt out of the car and run off and so they both started from different ends of the road with their dogs looking for him.
“The next thing was the offender broke into a house and phoned for a taxi. The taxi arrived and as Ged walked towards the taxi a woman came out and said, ‘he’s in my house, he’s not meant to be there’.
“As the offender jumped in the taxi, Ged moved to pull the key out of the ignition but he drove off along St Alban’s Road, pulling Ged alongside, until he got thrown off and hit his head on a bollard. Two days later he died having never recovered from his injuries.”
Since the event Nottinghamshire Police has set up an award named in honour of PC Ged Walker, which is given out each year to recipients directly chosen by Tracy who have shown outstanding bravery similar to that her husband showed on the day he was fatally injured.
Tracy spoke to Nottinghamshire Police as part of Notts Police: Operation 2020, a documentary showcasing the incredible achievements of officers and staff over the last year.
Explaining why it is important for such an annual award to be given in Ged’s memory she said: “I think it’s because it was such a routine job, it wasn’t a job that had been set up to storm a building or go and arrest somebody, it wasn’t a surveillance job, it wasn’t anything that had been organised – it was just routine policing.
“It just shows how routine policing can escalate into something that’s not routine anymore.
“I mean the scenario of just going to look at a stolen car, you don’t expect from that somebody’s life being lost and that’s why it’s significant. He was just doing a job but it developed into something considered to be brave because the scenario escalated so quickly.
“He had to make a decision as to whether to proactively try and stop the person or let this person drive off with the taxi driver in his car and he made the decision at that point to try and stop this person.
“Never in his wildest dreams when he went to that job did he think that that would be the scenario, it just shows how unpredictable policing can be and how it can escalate from something as innocuous as trying to stop somebody trying to get in a taxi.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford and Mark Petrovic from the Police Federation yesterday (Friday) laid flowers at the Ged Walker memorial at the Sherwood Lodge Headquarters in memory of the brave PC.
Mr Guildford said: “We are all humbled by the brave actions of Ged and the decision he took that night to try and stop an offender which ultimately led to his untimely death.
“He showed true courage and bravery in putting his own life on the line to stop a crime being committed. This goes above and beyond. Like Tracy says it was a routine job and nothing out of the ordinary, but this led to an extraordinary event.
“His story highlights the role of police and how each and every day officers put other people’s lives before their own to ensure people are kept safe from any threat, risk or harm.
“I want to thank Tracy for letting us present an award each year in Ged’s name to officers who have also shown such dedication and outstanding bravery. This helps to not only keep his memory alive, but seeks to highlight the work we do as police and the risks we take to keep communities safe.”
Mr Petrovic from the Nottinghamshire Police Federation added: “I was on duty that day in 2003 at Radford Road police station and I remember the news breaking about Ged and his horrific injuries.
“He was well known and respected across the county as a hard working cop and ‘thief-taker’. I remember feeling an immense sense of satisfaction and pride when Parfitt was arrested. He had been hiding out at an address in the city under the loft insulation before bursting through the loft and out onto a roof in a desperate attempt to escape. The arresting officers did a superb job in capturing him. RIP our brave officer.”
This year, PC Kay Yelland was awarded the PC Ged Walker Award for her bravery in stopping killer Gavin Collins by using her car to prevent him from harming anyone else. She put her own life on the line to stop him.
To see her story, watch Notts Police: Operation 2020 online by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4EiYnKC6ps