He was just 20 years old.
He was doing his job, keeping his local community safe.
On the night of March 11th 1982 PC John Egerton paid the ultimate price for doing so.
He was stabbed to death in a factory yard in Farnworth as he tried to arrest a thief who was siphoning petrol from a van.
Today on the 40th anniversary of his murder tributes were paid at a special ceremony held in the police suite in Bolton Police Station which is named after him. The young officer had responded to a call for assistance from a colleague who had seen a man climb over a wall to get into the yard.
The pair split up to search for the suspect. PC Egerton used his radio to report that he had disturbed someone, but no other transmissions were heard.
He was discovered at the side of one of the yard buildings, and had suffered four stab wounds to the head and body, which tragically proved fatal. Arthur Edge, was later jailed for life for the murder and released in 2000 after serving 18 years behind bars.
Today, Chief Supt Stuart Ellison, Commander for GMP’s Bolton Division, said: “Today, officers from GMP’s Bolton Division came together with PC Egerton’s family in the ‘John Egerton Suite’ at Bolton Police Station, to pay tribute to him. Despite the number of years that have passed, John is very much part of our lives in Bolton, and across the Force.
“Police officers continue to respond to support others in society and often do so without thought for their own safety. John made the ultimate sacrifice and in memory of this the John Egerton Trophy is presented each year by GMP to a serving officer who has shown bravery in the line of duty.
“John gave his life selflessly which will leave a lasting legacy and never be forgotten. He remains in our thoughts now as he did 40 years ago.”
PC Egerton features in GMP’s Roll of Honour, which commemorates the men and women of Greater Manchester Police and the earlier constituent forces.
It remembers all those who have lost their lives “as a result of criminal acts, enemy action, misadventure, accident, natural causes and unknown causes” whilst on duty.
Last August two police officers shared the John Egerton Trophy for their heroic actions. A man had been charged into a GP surgery’s waiting room armed with knives.
The offender threatened surgery staff and demanded they hand over medication at Woodley Health Center in Stockport in March last year.
A man was assaulted through his car window, staff were threatened and people inside the patient waiting room were ‘confronted with knives’ within quick succession.
PC Simon Toft was first on the scene with his trainee at the time, PC Alicia Snowden.
The man lunged at one of the officers, but they used a taser to detain him and they were both awarded the trophy for their bravery.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.