Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair's Tribute to Policeman Who Wanted to Follow His Father

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Blair's Tribute to Policeman Who Wanted to Follow His Father

Article excerpt


TONY BLAIR paid tribute to Dc Stephen Oake - who had helped protect the Prime Minister on his visits to the North-West - in the Commons this afternoon.

"Dc Oake was someone I met when he worked with my security team on visits," he said. "His family has lost a very fine man. The community has lost a very fine police officer - someone whose death we mourn, whose death should redouble our determination to tackle terrorism in all its forms.

"I'm sure the whole House would want to express our shock and outrage at this wicked murder and our deepest sympathy and prayers for the family of Dc Oake. Once again, we see the courage and commitment of police officers to the service of our country and the dangers they face daily on our behalf."

Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said of Dc Oake and the injured officers: "We owe them an enormous-debt of gratitude." Stephen Oake, 40, lived in Poynton in Cheshire with his wife of 20 years, Lesley, and children Christopher, 15, Rebecca, 14, and 12-year-old Corinne. His father Robin, himself a policeman for 30 years, today spoke of his pride in his son, who followed him into the force.

"He was a man who would try to be aware of other people and completely and wholly dedicated to his job which he loved," said Mr Oake.

Speaking of his son's career path, he added: "Although it was very unexpected he didn't consult me; he wanted to do it off his own back. I'm very proud and even with a tragedy like this, I know he was a proud dad and a brave man." Mr Oake - who was assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester police and chief constable of the Isle of Man - added of his son: "I simply want to pay tribute to him, his work with Special Branch and his gracious Christian faith.

"My first thoughts are with his lovely wife and their children."

Speaking about last night's operation, Mr Oake said: "I cannot divulge much save to say that when I spoke with him on the phone last Sunday afternoon, he told me he had an awkward duty on Tuesday. …

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