10 July 2012
Last updated at 06:36 ET
Peter Reeve was found dead with a head wound
The man suspected of fatally shooting a “hero” policeman has been found dead in a churchyard.
Off-duty PC Ian Dibell, 41, was shot dead in Clacton-on-Sea on Monday afternoon.
Police have confirmed Peter Reeve, 64, suspected of murdering PC Dibell, was found dead with a handgun and a head wound in the churchyard at Writtle, near Chelmsford.
A member of the public alerted police to the churchyard on Tuesday morning.
Essex Police Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said no shots had been fired by police.
It is thought PC Dibell had tried to intervene in a dispute when he was shot
He said Mr Reeve, who has family connections in Clacton and Chelmsford, did not hold a firearms licence.
The manhunt for Mr Reeve, which involved hundreds of officers, started on Monday afternoon after police found the body of PC Dibell and a second man with leg injuries.
It is understood the policeman, who lived near the Redbridge Road crime scene, had intervened in a dispute when he was shot.
Mr Barker-McCardle said PC Dibell had “paid the ultimate price” by placing himself in the line of fire while off duty.
He said: “He was a highly-regarded and well-liked community police officer.
“This was highly disturbing but police officers know there is a time to grieve and that is when this investigation is complete.”
A statement from PC Dibell’s family said they were “devastated” adding: “We are immensely proud of Ian and the courage he showed.
“We take some comfort from his bravery. Policing was in his blood and Ian selflessly went to the aid of people in desperate need without fear or thought for his own safety.
“It was he who was a hero. He has paid for the act in the most devastating way. He will be deeply missed and no words can describe the loss.”
Marcus Griffin, who was in Writtle earlier, told BBC News: “When I was coming in this morning there were lots of police all around, lots of traffic. A police officer told us to hold on.
“Then, as we went past where the cemetery area is, there were police cars all around blocking off both entrances.”