FAMILY, colleagues and dignitaries gathered today to pay tribute to the life of PC Sharon Beshenivsky on the ninth anniversary of her death as she responded to an armed robbery in Bradford.

Wreaths were laid at her memorial close to Bradford City Hall by West Yorkshire Police, her widow Paul and others in a memorial service which has become an annual event to recognise her sacrifice.

Among those attending to pay tribute was colleague Teresa Milburn who was also shot and seriously hurt as armed robbers made their escape from a raid on a travel agents' office in Morley Street.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Mike Gibbons, attended on behalf of the authority and said Bradford was not always the easiest place to police.

"The work you do is appreciated," he told officers. "We accept that you put yourselves on the line for us. Let us not forget that she paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"Nine years, or any time factor, cannot take away the abhorrence felt by so many at the killing of Sharon. I hope her life remains an inspiration and her death is not replicated," he said.

Bradford's Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Simon Atkins, said PC Beshenivsky's life had been "cut short through an act of violence we could not, and still cannot, fully understand."

"It is impossible to find the words to describe what happened that day and the impact it had on so many lives," he said.

An annual memorial will be held in future.