Murdered Sunderland police officer Bill Forth remembered, 25 years after his death

Temporary Chief Constable Winton Keenen lays a wreath in memory of Sergeant Bill Forth, the Sunderland police officer who was killed on duty 25 years ago today. Pic: Northumbria Pollce.
Temporary Chief Constable Winton Keenen lays a wreath in memory of Sergeant Bill Forth, the Sunderland police officer who was killed on duty 25 years ago today. Pic: Northumbria Pollce.
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Northumbria Police held a memorial service today to mark the 25th anniversary of the murder of an officer from Sunderland.

Sergeant William Forth, known to family and friends as Bill, was beaten and stabbed to death on March 21, 1993, after responding to a 999 call in the Sunniside area of Gateshead.

The father-of-two, who lived in Tunstall, Sunderland, was the first Northumbria police officer to be posthumously awarded the Queens Commendation for Bravery.

Bill, 34, had been a police officer for 13 years before he was killed, having joined Northumbria Police in 1979.

The majority of his career was spent as a 24/7 response officer in Sunderland, before being promoted in 1989, where he covered Felling and Whickham as a sergeant..

In the months following his death, a memorial stone was placed at Sun Hill in Sunniside to commemorate Bill, which was unveiled by Tony Blair.

Sergeant Bill Forth died on March 21, 1993, in Sunniside, Gateshead.

Sergeant Bill Forth died on March 21, 1993, in Sunniside, Gateshead.

Today, Temporary Chief Constable Winton Keenen laid a wreath in the memorial garden at Middle Engine Lane police station at Wallsend to commemorate his death.

Mr Keenen said: “It may have been 25 years since Bill’s murder, but that day is still fresh in the memory for a lot of people associated with Northumbria Police.

“It was one of the darkest days in the organisation’s history, and it robbed this force of a fantastic officer and his wonderful family of a loving father and husband.

“Whenever an officer dies in the line of duty it is a tragic occasion, but Bill’s death resonates even further because it was such a brutal and cowardly attack.

Sgt Bill Forth's widow Gill looks at a memorial to her husband at Northumbria Police headquarters back in 1993.

Sgt Bill Forth's widow Gill looks at a memorial to her husband at Northumbria Police headquarters back in 1993.

“He and his family will forever be in our memory, and his name will be forever etched into stone in our memorial garden alongside other brave colleagues who lost their lives protecting the people they serve.”

A wreath was also laid in Sunniside, at the memorial marking his death. Former colleagues and friends of Bill attended the wreath-laying ceremonies.

The funeral of murdered Sunderland police officer Bill Forth.

The funeral of murdered Sunderland police officer Bill Forth.