Bishop leads prayers for dead Pcs

Blackpool Citizen: Pc Fiona Bone, 32, was killed in a gun and grenade attack in Greater Manchester Pc Fiona Bone, 32, was killed in a gun and grenade attack in Greater Manchester

The police are "our last line of protection against the savagery of the jungle", a bishop said as prayers were held in memory of two policewomen murdered in a gun and grenade attack.

The Rt Rev Mark Davies, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Shrewsbury, told churchgoers in Hattersley where the horrific killings took place that the community "must stand as one" to avoid such deaths being accepted as "commonplace".

Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, and Pc Fiona Bone, 32, were targeted on Tuesday as they were called to a report of a burglary in Hattersley, Greater Manchester. Pc Bone died at the scene in Abbey Gardens on the Hattersley estate in Mottram while her colleague lost her life a short time later in hospital.

Bishop Davies led prayers for the officers, their families, friends and colleagues in a homily at Mass at St James the Great RC Church in Hattersley.

He said that Pc Hughes and Pc Bones were met with "merciless and ferocious violence" as they responded to an emergency call for the safety and protection of the community.

He said: "Today, with so many across the world, we remember and hold in our prayer these two police officers together with their families and loved ones and the many colleagues who deeply mourn their loss. We feel a sense of sorrow and outrage too. We recall how what is good in the dedicated service of the community met on our own streets with what is evil in the hate and violence which did not hesitate to indiscriminately kill.

"The sound of gunfire and a grenade exploding in the streets of this parish, the death of two young women fulfilling their duty, tragically reminds us that the police service stands as our last line of defence against the savagery of the jungle. If our children are not to grow up accepting the murders of Tuesday as commonplace then the police and the community must stand as one in defence of human life, overcoming whatever obstacles may prevent this trust.

"The police are there to protect us, but our protection must also be found within ourselves - in the moral values on which our homes and families are built, in the strength of our community. The commandments of God, St Augustine reminds us, were written first in our hearts before they were written on tablets of stone - they are accessible to everyone with a conscience.

"'You shall not kill' commands us in the name of God to value every human life as sacred. May these tragic events which have left everyone horrified never allow us to lose sight of those commandments, those moral foundations on which the peace and life of our whole society is built."

A remembrance service was also held in Pc Hughes's home village of Diggle, Oldham, with a book of condolence to be put on display for the public to sign at Kiln Green CE Church.

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