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Memorial service held to mark 25th anniversary of police sergeant's murder

21 Mar 2018 15:00 PM

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Northumbria Police have held a memorial service to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of Sgt William Forth.
William, known as Bill to family and friends, was stabbed to death on March 20, 1993, after responding to a 999 call in the Sunniside area of Gateshead.
Bill, 34, had been a police officer for 13 years before he was killed, having joined Northumbria Police in 1979. 
His death was very high-profile in the press and was a dark day in the history of Northumbria Police.
Following his death, a memorial stone was unveiled by then Labour Party leader Tony Blair at Sun Hill in Sunniside.
And this morning (Wednesday), the Force held a short memorial service at Middle Engine Lane Police Station to mark 25 years since his murder.
The Force chaplain Steve Edge delivered the service during which Temporary Chief Constable Winton Keenen placed a wreath in the Force’s memorial garden. 
In the afternoon, a second wreath was laid at the memorial stone in Sunniside. Former colleagues of Bill’s were in attendance at the service.
Temporary Chief Constable Keenen said: “It may have been 25 years since Bill’s murder but that day is still fresh in the memory for a lot of people associated with Northumbria Police.
“It was one of the darkest days in the organisation’s history and it robbed this Force of a fantastic officer and his wonderful family of a loving father and husband.
“Whenever an officer dies in the line of duty it is a tragic occasion but Bill’s death resonates even further because it was such a brutal and cowardly attack.
“He and his family will forever be in our memory and his name will be forever etched into stone in our memorial garden alongside other brave colleagues who lost their lives protecting the people they serve.” 
The majority of his career was spent as a 24/7 response officer in Sunderland before being promoted in 1989 where he covered Felling and Whickham as a sergeant.
Shortly before his death Bill, a father-of-two, was commended for his bravery at Crown Court for tackling two armed men.