Nicola Hughes funeral: tributes to fallen PC who 'decided not to be a bystander'
THOUSANDS of police officers gathered today to pay tribute to PC Nicola Hughes who was shot to death in the line of duty as Greater Manchester Police vowed to 'never forget her great sacrifice.'
Greater Manchester Police chief constable Sir Peter Fahy today paid tribute to murdered policewoman Nicola Hughes, 23, saying she had chosen 'not to be a bystander.'
Thousands of police officers from across the country gathered to remember the PC was was killed alongside her colleague PC Fiona Bone, 32, after responding to a bogus 999 call.
Police motorcycle outriders provided a guard of honour ahead of the cortege, led by the funeral carriage pulled by six horses from GMP's mounted unit and bearing the coffin, shrouded in black cloth.
All bowed their heads solemnly when the funeral cortege passed as they lined the procession route through an eerily quiet Manchester city centre.
They were joined in Deansgate by hundreds of members of the public who heeded a call from Greater Manchester Police for ''decent people'' to stand shoulder by shoulder.
Office workers left their desks, shops emptied and building sites fell silent in a public show of respect.
Addressing the congregation at Manchester Cathedral, Sir Peter spoke of Pc Hughes being "incredibly mature" despite her young years.
He said her family had spoken of the proud moment when every new officer brings home their uniform for the first time.
"They (officers) wonder will you be able to fill those boots," he said. "In Nicola's case, there was never any doubt.
"She decided not to be a bystander."
He added: "Nicola and Fiona knew that the police service has the same expectations of female officers as male officers.
"Nicola, like Fiona, had many of the qualities we see in our young police officers and many young people."
He said Pc Hughes signed up knowing she would put herself in danger and that an unarmed police force was not a "tactical option" but that it was "central to our commitment to minimum force".
She died from "her own devotion to others".
"Nicola, in her dedication and professionalism, in the way she carried out her duties, showed that policing is not about muscle but reason, restraint and intelligence.
"Her family were so proud of Nicola. She was a fighter."
He said every photograph of her reflected her warm smile.
He said: "She will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her.
Both officers were lured to their deaths by what appeared to be a routine burglary call to a house in Hattersley, Tameside, on September 18.
Pc Hughes, from Oldham, joined GMP in 2009. Her family said she wanted to make a difference and was doing a job she loved.
Fellow officers described her as a chatterbox, always smiling, with a bubbly, infectious personality.
Officers from forces nationwide volunteered to cover the shifts of GMP colleagues so they could attend the service at Manchester Cathedral, with most of them lining the funeral procession route.
Several chief constables and senior officers from forces across England and Wales were expected to be among the 1,000 mourners inside the cathedral along with Pc Hughes's family and friends, and fellow officers from the Tameside division.
A big screen was relaying the funeral at the rear of the cathedral for hundreds more gathered outside.
The funeral of Pc Bone will take place at the same venue tomorrow.