DEVASTATED friends and family of the murdered police officers have paid tribute to the two women gunned down with their “whole lives ahead of them”.
PC Nicola Hughes, 23, joined Greater Manchester Police in 2009 and had completed just over three years of service, all of it in the Tameside division.
Meanwhile PC Fiona Bone had served with the force for five years. It was revealed yesterday her partner used to sit up with her daughter waiting for the 32-year-old to return home after a shift.
Thousands of tributes poured in for the women yesterday with PC Hughes’s family saying she died doing “the job she loved”.
“Nicola was our only daughter and a beautiful child,” her family said in a statement. “She was always happy with life and lived for her family.
“She had an infectious personality and sense of humour and was a very caring and loving girl. When she left the house on Tuesday morning she was going to the job she loved.
“Nicola always wanted to make a difference and, in doing so, she made such a big difference to everyone she knew. She cared about everyone and especially her colleagues.
“Nicola was only 23 years old and had the whole of her life in front of her.
“We cannot express how we feel today except to say we have always been exceedingly proud of Nicola and always will be. She knew she was loved by us all and we shall all miss her dreadfully.”
Derrick Mather, 78, who lives on the same road as PC Hughes’s parents in the village of Diggle, less than 10 miles from the scene of the murder, said: “She was a beautiful young lady. No one deserved success more than she did.
“We are all stunned around the neighbourhood. She comes from a beautiful family.
“I have a daughter of my own.
“I can’t begin to think what I would feel like if it had happened to her when she was a special constable in the police force many years ago.”
PC Fiona Bone has been described by friends and neighbours as a “kind, loving, gentle, funny, caring” woman, and was in the middle of planning a civil ceremony for her same-sex partnership when she was killed.
In September 1997, she joined the sixth form at Castle Rushen High School on the Isle of Man, where a flag was being flown at half-mast yesterday, after her family moved to the island from Derby.
She then moved on to university before later joining Greater Manchester Police.
Neighbours say she moved into her neat, mid-terrace house in a quiet cul-de-sac in Sale, Cheshire, around two years ago to live with her partner who has a five-year-old daughter.
Yesterday the curtains at the house were half-drawn with a small teddy bear in the window.
Tearful neighbour Angela McGranaghen, 66, said: “The officer is a lovely person, she taught her partner’s little girl how to ride her bike. They used to go out on pedal bikes.
“One would go out to their job and the other would be at home with the little girl, both waiting for the other one to come home.
“That is no age at all for a person to die, she had her whole life in front of her.”