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Memorial to murdered police officer

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:34 06 July 2010

Stephen Pullinger

A memorial service is being held today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of a Norfolk police officer. PC Charles Alger was blasted by a sawn-off shotgun after going to sort out a domestic dispute.

A memorial service is being held today to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of a Norfolk police officer.

PC Charles Alger was blasted by a sawn-off shotgun after going to sort out a domestic dispute.

The deadly, drink-fuelled attack bestowed upon the 37-year-old father of four the unwelcome distinction of becoming the only Norfolk officer to be murdered while on duty.

At today's ceremony at his grave in Gorleston cemetery, the borough's police chief, Supt Jim Smerdon, will be joined by PC Alger's grandson David Alger and other relatives in laying wreaths and flowers.

Other retired and serving police officers will be present along with representatives of the National Association of Retired Police Officers and Norfolk Constabulary's Historical Society.

The brutal events that unfolded in St Andrew's Road, Gorleston, were recorded in the EDP of the day.

PC Alger was dispatched to the home of rat catcher Thomas Allen, a known petty thief and poacher, after reports of a violent disturbance by neighbours.

While Allen's wife took shelter in a neighbour's home, bleeding badly from a shotgun wound to her lower back, PC Alger bravely confronted him despite being told he had a gun.

Allen told PC Alger to come outside with him and he would tell him what had happened. However, as the pair left the backyard and entered his neighbouring allotment, Allen pulled out a sawn-off shotgun and blasted him in the right side of the head, mortally wounding him.

Later that year, Allen was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. However, he was reprieved on appeal and declared insane, spending the rest of his days in Broadmoor.

PC Alger's grandson, David Alger, 66, of Whinchat Way, Bradwell, said: “My father Fred was only eight when it happened and never spoke much about it up to his death in 1987. I think it affected him greatly.

“He just said it was very tragic. I remember him telling me he was out playing and someone came up to him and said, 'Your dad has been shot'. He rushed home and the police were already there.”

He described his grandfather as very brave and said it was fitting to remember someone who had given their life at such a young age.

Police spokesman Jon Smith said all officers serving today would be able to relate to the story of PC Alger.

“It has been the same since policing started. Officers go to situations every day where they don't know what the exact outcome will be. Sadly on this occasion it cost PC Alger his life,” he said.

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