19 years on Ilford Pc who made the ultimate sacrifice is commemorated
08:58 22 April 2014
What started out as a normal day on the job for a young Pc became a day that tragically altered everything, changing the lives of his friends, colleagues and loved ones forever.
Pc Phillip Walters was called to a disturbance at a house on Empress Avenue on the evening of April 18, 1995 and attended with Pcs Derek Shepherd, Chris Joicey, Adrian Harris and Mark Rowan.
They believed it to be a routine disturbance, but the reality was far more sinister and they discovered three men beating the male occupant of the property after being paid to do so by his ex- lover.
As they tried to arrest one man, known as Ray Lee, Pc Walters fell victim to an explosion of violence and received a fatal gun shot wound to the chest as vicious Lee tried to escape punishment by shooting his way out.
He was taken to hospital but sadly died aged just 28.
Sgt Shepherd, then a Pc, was also injured as he risked his own life by struggling to hold onto the suspect until help arrived, receiving a gun shot wound to his hand. He was off work for 10 months as he tried to come to terms with the loss of a man who was not just a colleague, but a close friend.
19 years on, Pc Walters’ family, friends and colleagues gathered to commemorate him at his memorial stone on Empress Avenue.
His mother, Jean Miller, said she remembered thinking after her son’s death: “I just don’t want him put in a drawer and forgotten.”
Praising the actions of Redbridge police and everyone who has helped commemorate her son over the years, she said: “They promised he wouldn’t be. I couldn’t ask for more.”
Colin Walters, PC Walters’ father, said the family would also be visiting the memorial in Valentine’s Park.
“It was paid for by the Ilford Recorder,” he said.
“We will be going there tomorrow (Friday 18).
“All the way through, Ilford Recorder has been at our side and we are really grateful.”
Borough Commander Sue Williams joined family members in laying floral tributes at the stone, before a minutes silence began.
She said: “I was in the job 19 years ago so I do remember.
“Those that have been posted here to Redbridge will know about Phil Walters, because we keep his memory alive. We have a conference room dedicated to him and we have a memorial in that conference room.
“Policing is a difficult job, there’s no doubt about that. There are dangers and unfortunately my colleagues put themselves in front of that danger to keep London safe.”
Det Ch Supt Sue Williams then read out a poignant extract from Pc Walters’ autobiography about why he joined the police force, which all officers used to write.
He had written: “I would like to feel that my family can walk the streets of London safely. If I can play a small part to help achieve that, then I would be more than happy.”
“I think he made the ultimate sacrifice in trying to keep our streets safe,” she added.