On 45th anniversary of his murder in West Kensington
The Metropolitan Police have once again honoured the memory of PC Stephen Tibble, an officer who lost his life in 1975 as he attempted to detain a terrorist suspect in Barons Court.
Officers, led by Chief Inspector for Neighbourhoods & Royal Parks, Central West BCU Simon Brooker, laid wreaths on the PC Tibble's Memorial Plaque in Charleville Road on 26 February.
Chief Inspector Brooker tweeted @MPSSimonBrooker: "Privileged to pay tribute to PC Stephen Tibble on the 45th anniversary of his murder. Joined by many AW colleagues, his brother David and retired PC, Derek Wilson who was on scene in 1975."
Local team North End Police echoed his words @MPSNorthEndFH: " At 10:55 this morning Chief Inspector Brooker and PS Draper, laid wreaths to remember PC Stephen Tibble, who lost his life in the line of duty on this day 45 years ago. The service was attended by PC Tibble’s brother and the former officer who was first on scene."
Hammersmith and Fulham Police joined themm @MPSHammFul saying; " On the 26th of February 1975, PC Stephen Tibble was flagged down, off duty, to assist officers with the detention of a suspect near Barons Court. Tragically, he was shot by that suspect, dying in hospital three hours later. Today, we gathered to remember Stephen. #neverforget."
On 26 February 1975, plain-clothed police officers were carrying out burglary patrols in the area of Fairholme Road, Hammersmith. One of the officers noticed a man acting suspiciously outside an address and approached him, introducing himself as a police officer.
The man stopped was Liam Quinn, a volunteer in the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
Whilst speaking to the officer, Quinn suddenly fled and officers started to chase him on foot.
PC Tibble, who was off-duty at the time and on his motorbike, saw what was happening and gave chase. He rode past the pursuing officers and Quinn, then pulled to a stop at the junction of Charleville Road and Gledstanes Road. He got off his bike and tried to stop Quinn, unaware that he was armed. Quinn then pulled a gun out and shot PC Tibble three times in the chest at point-blank range.
PC Tibble died three hours later in hospital. He was 21, married and had been a serving officer for only six months.
Another officer involved in the chase continued to pursue Quinn by getting on PC Tibble's motorbike but couldn't track him.
Officers later attended the flat in Fairholme Road that Quinn had been seen entering and discovered it was a bomb factory. They also found an automatic pistol and ammunition as well as English and Irish money, wigs and a letter addressed to another IRA volunteer. The discovery of this address led to the arrest of a number of other IRA volunteers.
Quinn managed to evade capture and later escaped to Dublin. His extradition to the UK was refused by the Irish courts. In 1981 he was arrested by the FBI as he tried entering California but it was not until 1988 that he was successfully extradited to England.
In February 1988 Quinn was tried and found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum sentence of 30 years.
Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Gideon Springer said: “It was a real honour to meet the family of PC Tibble, a heroic officer who demonstrated the ultimate act of bravery and dedication all those years ago.
"Having read what happened on that sad day, it is quite remarkable that officers, who saw a colleague being shot, continued to chase the suspect without fear for their own lives fully knowing that Quinn was now armed.
"This is something that has not changed to this day and police officers continue to put their lives at risk on a daily basis to protect Londoners and people across the country.”
On 17 June 1976, PC Tibble was posthumously awarded the Queen's Police Medal for gallantry.
The memorial plaque for PC Tibble was erected in 1992 at the spot where he was killed on Charleville Road in Barons Court.
March 6, 2020