Hundreds turn out for funeral of Moors Murders detective John Stalker

Former police chief John Stalker, pictured on ITV programme Crimestalker in June 1995, died on February 15 aged 79

Former police chief John Stalker, pictured on ITV programme Crimestalker in June 1995, died on February 15 aged 79

Hundreds of people turned out today for the funeral of a former detective turned crime TV show presenter.

John Stalker, who was the deputy chief constable for Greater Manchester Police, investigated the Moors Murders in the 1960s and the disappearance of Millie Dowler in 2002 - but died on February 15 aged 79.

He was involved several huge cases as part of the force but was widely known for his investigation into an alleged 'shoot to kill policy' in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, which was known as the Stalker Inquiry.

Relatives, colleagues and friends today paid their respects to Mr Stalker - who hosted the ITV shows Crimestalker and Inside Crime - at St Peter's Church on an overcast day in his hometown of Lymm, Cheshire.

Mr Stalker, who is survived by his two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, had been in poor health following the death of his wife Stella 14 months ago, whom he had married in 1961.  

He enjoyed a meteoric rise through the police before a later career in TV - and was an old school detective greatly admired by colleagues, feared by criminals and respected by the public as a dedicated officer.

Born in Manchester, his career began in the city on the beat as a young cadet but he quickly rose through the ranks, working in CID for 16 years to become a Detective Superintendent.

As a junior detective one of his roles included involvement in the notorious Moors Murders of the 1960s. 

The coffin of Mr Stalker, the former deputy chief constable for Greater Manchester Police, is carried at his funeral today

The coffin of Mr Stalker, the former deputy chief constable for Greater Manchester Police, is carried at his funeral today

Mounted police arrive for the funeral of Mr Stalker at St Peters Church today in his hometown of Lymm, Cheshire

Mounted police arrive for the funeral of Mr Stalker at St Peters Church today in his hometown of Lymm, Cheshire

Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable Wasim Chaudhry

One of the mourners at the church today holds an order of service

Greater Manchester Police assistant chief constable Wasim Chaudhry (left) is among the mourners at the church today

Relatives, colleagues and friends today paid their respects to Mr Stalker and said a final farewell at St Peter’s Church in Lymm

Relatives, colleagues and friends today paid their respects to Mr Stalker and said a final farewell at St Peter's Church in Lymm

His job included developing the photographs and listening to the tape recording made by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley as ten-year-old Lesley Ann Downey was sexually tortured and murdered.

The tape was recorded at the house in Wardle Brook Avenue, Hattersley, as Lesley Ann pleaded with them 'Please God, help me' and 'Don't undress me, will you?'

Her cries reduced the judge, jury, courtroom spectators and even hardened police officers to tears.

Mr Stalker, who was then a detective sergeant, expressed the feelings of many in the courtroom when he said: 'Nothing in criminal behaviour before or since has penetrated my heart with quite the same paralysing intensity.'

He also held posts within the Serious Crime Squad and the Bomb Squad and became head of the first drugs squad at Greater Manchester Police, where he served most of his career. 

The former deputy chief constable is survived by his two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren

The former deputy chief constable is survived by his two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren

Mr Stalker had been in poor health following the death of his wife Stella 14 months ago, whom he had married in 1961

Mr Stalker had been in poor health following the death of his wife Stella 14 months ago, whom he had married in 1961

Mr Stalker's family said he 'spent his life as a devoted police officer, proudly serving the people of Greater Manchester'

Mr Stalker's family said he 'spent his life as a devoted police officer, proudly serving the people of Greater Manchester'

Hundreds of people turned out today for the funeral in Lymm today of the former detective turned crime TV show presenter

Hundreds of people turned out today for the funeral in Lymm today of the former detective turned crime TV show presenter

In 1978 - aged 38 - he was appointed head of Warwickshire CID, the youngest Detective Chief Superintendent in the country - but later returned to Greater Manchester, where he became Deputy Chief Constable in 1984.

He travelled the world studying terrorism and crime in Europe, the USA and South America which led to his appointment to head an inquiry into policing in Northern Ireland.

A policeman investigating other policemen, he was met with some opposition from

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