BELFAST: Two men were charged tonight in connection with the death of a policewoman whose patrol car was hit by a stolen 4x4 in Northern Ireland.
Constable Philippa Reynolds, 27, from the Greater Belfast area, died when the unmarked car she was travelling in turned into the path of the vehicle in Londonderry in the early hours of Saturday morning.
One the men, aged 25, has been charged with 10 offences including causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking causing death or grievous bodily injury, burglary and driving while unfit.
The other man, aged 23, has been charged with aggravated vehicle taking causing death or grievous bodily injury, burglary, criminal damage and assisting an offender.
Reynolds, a former teacher, had been in the Police Service of Northern Ireland for two years.
Her commander in Derry, Chief Superintendent Stephen Cargin, paid tribute to her in the wake of the crash.
“She was enthusiastic, bubbly and had a beautiful personality,” he said.
Reynolds was on routine patrol when the fatal incident happened at around 3.40am. Two other officers in the police car sustained non-serious injuries.
Police had been hunting for two males who made off from the scene on the Limavady Road in the direction of the Ebrington area.
Northern Ireland’s chief constable has vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the car crash.
Matt Baggott said he was greatly saddened by the death of his colleague.
“This is a personal tragedy for her family and also for the whole police service,” he said.
“She was out on duty, working to keep people safe, when she died. My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time. I and my colleagues will ensure that no stone remains unturned as we work to bring to justice those who perpetrated this crime.”
Stormont Justice Minister David Ford said his thoughts were with the policewoman’s relatives and the injured officers.
“I was shocked to hear of this tragic incident which resulted in the death of a police constable who was carrying out her duties serving the community in the middle of the night,” he said. “My thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.”
“This is not the first time we have seen death and injury resulting from car crime. I call on those engaged in this crime to reflect on the consequences of their actions and stop this senseless activity.”