Thousands of mourners across Manchester paid their respects to murdered PC Nicola Hughes at her funeral today
Police officers and members of the public formed a guard of honour on Deansgate as the funeral procession made its way to Manchester Cathedral.
Constable Hughes, 23, tragically lost her life on September 18 – along with PC Fiona Bone – after the pair were called to a ‘routine’ burglary in Mottram.
Speaking at the funeral, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Sir Peter Fahy paid tribute to the young officer.
“It is abhorrent that she met her death through an evil, dark act,” he said.
“She will be greatly missed by everyone that knew her. We will never forget her great sacrifice.”
The hearse was preceded by mounted officers and was met by respectful applause from onlookers as the cortege passed by.
Constable Hughes’ coffin was placed in Manchester Cathedral – where the GMP flag flew at half-mast – with her hat and a bouquet of flowers laid upon it.
The service was displayed on a big screen near the National Football Museum, where police officers broke down with emotion – many members of the public and of the force cried as her coffin was carried into the cathedral.
Sergeant Stephen Miskell, Constable Hughes’ senior colleague, said: “Nicola was the very best of people and will be missed by all those fortunate to have known her.
“She was born brave with no fear of anything, with the possible exception of spiders.”
As the service echoed around Exchange Square, more police officers joined the already growing crowd of spectators in mourning the young officer.
Sir Peter added: “She had a promising career ahead of her but was driven not by personal ambition but by service to the public in need.
“She set high standards for herself and impressed everyone with her dedication and her cheerfulness. She had huge amounts of energy and initiative.”
One policewoman, on her way to join the procession leaving the cathedral, took the time to console an elderly man clearly overwhelmed by the occasion.
Miss Hughes lived with her mother Susan at their home in Oldham – she leaves behind her father Bryn and younger brother, Sam.
She signed up to the police in 2009 to make a difference in Manchester and was doing a job she loved and was happy with her life, her family said.
The funeral of Miss Bone will take place at 10am tomorrow at the Cathedral.
GUARD OF HONOUR: Officers pay respects to their fallen colleague
EMOTIONAL: Sir Peter Fahy pays tribute to PC Hughes
POIGNANT: PC Hughes’ coffin being carried into the cathedral
RESPECTFUL: Manchester colleagues line the route into the cathedral
PALL-BEARERS: Officers carry the coffin into the cathedral
PICTURED: A photograph of PC Hughes carried ahead of the coffin
Pictures courtesy of Getty Images