Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Widow's Praise for Loyal Officer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Widow's Praise for Loyal Officer

Article excerpt

THE widow of a policeman who died when a bridge collapsed amid last year's Cumbria floods told an inquest into his death that "a more loyal officer you could not find".

PC Bill Barker, 44, was nearing the end of his night shift when he responded to a report that a car may have fallen off Northside Bridge into the River Derwent in Workington. He was inspecting for any signs of the vehicle on what he thought was safe ground when it gave way and he fell 20ft into the surging debris-strewn waters below.

The father-of-four was knocked unconscious with a blow to the head as he landed in the water and his body was carried eight miles downstream. He was discovered later the same day on a beach in nearby Allonby. A post-mortem examination concluded he died from a combination of blunt head trauma and drowning.

His wife, Hazel, 56, spoke of his devotion to police duty at an inquest into his death.

She said: "I am going to be biased. A more loyal officer you could not find. He considered it an honour and privilege to serve the people of West Cumbria. …

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