THE DEATH of PC Sharon Beshenivsky shocked the nation.

As she made her way home on Thursday, November 17, 2005, Bradford was in festive mood.

The city's Christmas lights had been officially switched on by actress Lesley Joseph and as Sharon - a mother of three and step-mother of two - headed to her Keighley home she had celebrations of her own in mind.


She was looking forward to the celebrations she and landscape gardener husband Paul had planned for their daughter Lydia's fourth birthday the following day.

What a year it had been. In February she had joined the police, spending two months in Coventry on a training course.

She had holidayed for a month in Australia, visiting her sister Pauline and, in that July, the family had moved from a bungalow in Haworth Road to a £375,000 barn conversion in Back Shaw Lane - on the edge of her beloved moors.

She had taken loads of photographs in Australia and at the weekend had spent time with Jennifer, her mum, drinking tea, laughing over the pictures and talking about Lydia's birthday cake.

Now, little Lydia would be looking forward to waking up on her special day.

On Friday, November 18, Sharon rose early for her shift, anticipating a happy day.

As she journeyed to Bradford South police HQ at the Tyrls in the city centre, she was looking forward to seeing Lydia open her birthday presents that afternoon.

Still a 'rookie', she was under the wing of Teresa Milburn, a cheery officer, married to Chris and with a 16-year-old son, James.

The pair were on 'Taskit' duties: patrolling problem crime areas in their panda car. It wasn't a job that required full body armour but the sleeveless antistab vests were not optional.

If Sharon Beshenivsky had any premonition of how her shift would end, she showed no discernible sign of unease to Teresa, who was driving the panda on Manchester Road when the call from central control came in round about 3.25pm about a disturbance at Universal Express. As no other patrol car answered, Teresa obligingly radioed back: "2841, will attend, Bob."

"Thanks for that, T, " came the friendly reply. 'T' is Teresa's nickname at the station.

Neither of the two probationary officers were aware that the call had also been picked up by street wardens Adam Faulkener and Christopher Brook on their police radios. They sent the message that as they were in the vicinity they would take a look.

In the failing mid-afternoon winter light, the two street wardens were seen outside one of the white-painted front doors to the travel agency, their appearance causing much consternation.

One pushed into the small vestibule and caught sight of a smartly dressed man sitting behind the counter.

"We're on a break, we're on a break, man, " he called through the glass.

Adam Faulkener was not convinced. He suspected a robbery was taking place. But having no evidence, he and his colleague returned to the street.

Just before 3.30pm Sharon and Teresa's panda car arrived, blue lights flashing. The two wardens approached the car as Sharon and Teresa got out and walked towards them. Teresa nipped back to turn off the blue lights lest she get a rollicking from her boss for running down the car's battery.

As she returned, the other three were outside Universal Express. A loud bang at the back, like a fire-door slamming, startled them. "We'll take a look, " Adam said, heading for a narrow alley.

Consternation had turned to panic inside the agency.

"Feds!" shouted one of the robbers.

Some money had been taken, how much remains a point of contention.

Teresa was behind Sharon as the clock ticked round to 3.32pm. Neon lighting on nearby restaurants glowed blue and red in the gloomy afternoon light.

The agency door burst open and there was a loud bang, startling rooftop starlings into panicky flight.

Teresa saw Sharon's head turn to the right, the left and then flop down. Her arms fell to her side as her knees buckled and her body fell not far from the door.

For a split second Teresa was confronted by a man holding what appeared to be a black pistol.

The gun went off again. Teresa felt the punch of pain as the bullet smashed into her.

She managed to press an emergency button on her radio. Central control received the dreaded Code Zero warning: police officers shot.

Another bullet was fired and smashed a top window in a nearby college library.

As the men fled Sharon Beshenivsky lay curled in a ball. The pistol bullet had gone through her stab-proof vest, hit a rib, punctured her aorta artery and damaged her spine. Her chest filled with blood and her life ebbed away.

An ambulance took wounded Teresa Milburn and the fatally injured Sharon to Bradford Royal Infirmary.

It was to have been such a happy day.

But that evening, after Paul Beshenivsky received the devastating news, he had to tell excited birthday girl Lydia and the other children, "Mummy's not coming home tonight."