Sister pays tribute to 'hero' Philippa

Published Wednesday, 13 February 2013
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The sister of Constable Philippa Reynolds has told mourners at her funeral that she was her hero.

Sister pays tribute to 'hero' Philippa
A police officer salutes the funeral cortege of Constable Philippa Reynolds. (© Pacemaker)

Debra Reynolds choked back tears as she paid tribute to her best friend and soul mate.

"Never in my life would I think that I had to be the one saying goodbye," she said.

The 27-year-old was killed in Londonderry on Saturday when a stolen 4x4 crashed into her unmarked police car which was on a routine patrol.

Philippa, who was a backseat passenger, died instantly. Two of her colleagues were injured.

"To know that she touched so many lives in such a short time on earth is a real comfort to us all," Debra continued, discussing her younger sister's love of nights out, shopping, movies and books.

"I'll never understand why God chose to take her from us at such a young age - when she had so much to give - and I can't imagine one moment of my life without her.

"The baby of this family is gone - my daddy's little girl," she added.

Parents Mervyn and Dorothy, and sisters Debra and Nicola, led the mourners at Mossley Methodist Church Newtownabbey, Co Antrim after a private service was conducted at the family home. The burial then took place at Carnmoney Cemetery.

The First Minister Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Justice Minister David Ford were among the hundreds of mourners.

Earlier on Wednesday, the PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott described the day as one of "profound sadness and sorrow."

The PSNI chief said she was "a superb police officer" working for the "finest police service in the world," before adding that "Philippa was, undoubtedly, the best of the best."

We will not forget her, and my commitment to her family is that we will work even harder to be the Police Service that she stood for.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott

In an emotional interview, Matt Baggott - along with District Commander Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin - thanked the Reynolds family "for giving her to us."

"She was kind, she was caring, she was courageous when necessary, she was compassionate," he said.

Philippa originally qualified as a teacher before leaving the profession to accept a place in the police training college in February 2011.

The PSNI chief revealed how he had been the convening officer at Constable Reynolds police graduation and said she had sent ripples through people's lives.

He said she was "part of the story of peace building in Derry/Londonderry."

"Peace comes when people show kindness, peace comes when people are caring - and Philippa was part of that story."

He said that it was a "huge privilege" as her Chief Constable to be able to pay tribute to her.

"I know that today there will be huge numbers of people who have the family in their thoughts and prayers and I know they'll take some comfort in that and on behalf of the police service, I thank people for their support."

On Monday, two homeless men appeared in court in Derry in connection with the crash.

Conor Clarence, 23, and Shane Frane, 25, who are both from the Simon Community hostel at Bonds Hill in Derry, stand accused of a total of 14 offences.

Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson attend the funeral of Philippa Reynolds.

© UTV News
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7 Comments
Marian Mc Loughlin in Limerick wrote (649 days ago):
What a waste of a beautiful young girl'life.wiped out by two joyriders in a stolen jeep. Were they under the influnce on alcohol or drugs ? at 03.30 AM This lovely lady was very well educated and had a lot to give and help communities.She was only starting out in her chosen career. Deep sympathy to her family and colleages .May she rest in pease. These joyriders should be brought to justice and realise what they have done. What was their intention when they stole this jeep. Are they sorry for what they have done I hope they have a conscience.If it was the joyriders were injured there would probarly be a big inquiry .
Eamon in Craigavon wrote (650 days ago):
Sorry for the family but if she worked in Tesco or any other ordinary job the media would not be playing on it for a week
Mary in Co.Leitrim wrote (650 days ago):
My heartfelt sympathies to the family of Phillipa. Such a tragic and senseless act which resulted in this delightful lady losing her life. There are no words one can say to comfort her grieving family. I pray you find the strength to overcome such a tragedy and God bless and support you all.
hilary in Derry wrote (650 days ago):
so so sad what a tragic the loss of this young ladies life, my prayers and thoughts are with her family today, may she rest in peace,
r breydin in derry wrote (650 days ago):
its very sad that people lose there lives because of car thieves there to many cars on the roads people get lazy when they got car.s the late 1960s there was no cars like there is today destroying the clean air what shame people have to die because of cars --------------- very sad what happen to philippa very sad hir life taken away in a flash
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