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London Evening Standard
Justin Davenport, Crime Editor, Benedict Moore-Bridger, Rob Parsons and Shekhar Bhatia
Published: 10 July 2012
– Dead body found at church in Writtle, Chelmsford confirmed to be Peter Reeve, 64
– Officer shot in the head while chasing man outside his home
– Police say colleague’s death ‘sad news for the police service’
– Essex police name Peter Reeve, 64, as killer who also shot another man in leg
The Standard has learned that the 64-year-old loner used to work at a local gun club, had a history of depression and had made threats to kill in the past. He was found in All Saints church graveyard in Writtle near Chelmsford this morning with a shot to the head. A handgun was beside him.
Another neighbour Stuart Griggs, 40, saw Reeve firing wildly at the couple in the street in Clacton yesterday afternoon. Off duty Pc Ian Dibell, 41, was killed as he came to their aid and pursued Reeve. It is thought Reeve turned and shot him in the face.
Mr Griggs said: “I watched it all happen from my window but it still hasn’t sunk in. My heart goes out to the police officer’s family as he was so brave to intervene. I don’t know many who would have had the courage to intervene like that.”
Mr Griggs said of Reeve: “Someone told me he had had a confrontation with the old tenant who lived in the flat below him but whenever I saw him in the stairwell we’d share the usual chit chat.
“A couple of months ago he started becoming very paranoid about the couple who had moved in downstairs. He came up to me a few times and said, ‘Something’s going on downstairs, I think they’re printing money’.
“Next thing he said he thought drugs were involved. I told him he was wrong but he seemed to become obsessed with it. I explained to him that the guy downstairs works as a lorry driver and that is why he comes home at odd times of the night but he wouldn’t let it go.”
The Standard can reveal that Reeve used to work as an unpaid handyman at the Clacton gun club. He was not a member and did not possess a firearms licence but enjoyed chatting to competitors at the club’s regular clay pigeon shooting events.
Club owner Andy Riva said: “He had a troubled past, he suffered from depression. You could tell from his mood swings if he was taking his medication.
“He would come down and chat with the shooters, the competitors, and if you talked to him he was a really nice gentleman. But he would lose it sometimes when he was in one of his moods. He did say things against people he had trouble with, he would say things like, ‘He’s going down’.
“He would talk about trouble he had with his neighbours and the noise, he said he could not sleep at night. No one took his threats seriously.”
Essex Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle said Reeve had been found dead this morning by a member of the public. He said a handgun had been used in the Clacton attack and that Reeve was “largely unknown to police”.