Murdered cop Sharon Beshenivsky's daughter, 18, will join the police

Aged 18, Lydia Beshenivsky is the spitting image of her late mother, murdered police officer Sharon.

Those who knew the 38-year-old constable before she was shot dead on her daughter's fourth birthday say she laughs like her as well. She'd like to be a policewoman too, just like Mum — much to her father's understandable horror.

'They all say I'm just like her, but I don't remember her at all,' says Lydia.

'I wish I did. There's just a hole where she used to be and no memories to fill it. There's literally nothing there. It's become more of a heartache as I've grown up because, obviously, I want to know her. You think, 'I wish I could do this with her or that with her.' But you can't. She's gone.'

Lydia Beshenivsky (pictured) is murdered police officer Sharon Beshenivsky who was shot dead on her daughter's fourth birthday

Lydia Beshenivsky (pictured) is murdered police officer Sharon Beshenivsky who was shot dead on her daughter's fourth birthday 

Lydia's brother Paul Junior, 21, puts an arm around his sister as her pretty face crumples.

Two months ago, Lydia celebrated her 18th birthday. The same day she went to her mother's police memorial in Bradford, as she does every year, to lay some flowers.

'I've done it since I was 15,' she says. 'My birthday still gets celebrated, but thoughts of Mum are still there. You think, 'why did she have to die on my birthday? Why did she have to die at all? Why are there such sick people out there?' She's not just referring to the gang who shot her mother dead as she responded to a robbery at a travel agent in Bradford in 2005.

'About a week before my 18th birthday, I started getting messages on social media from a lot of Asians who were all related,' she says. 'They were saying, 'I know who your mum is. My cousin killed her.'

Lydia sent the messages to her mother's colleague, PC Teresa Milburn, who was also shot on that terrible day but survived to give evidence at a trial a year later. Lydia hasn't heard from the despicable since. This is a particularly difficult time for PC Beshenivsky's children.

On January 14, the man accused of being the gang's mastermind, Piran Ditta Khan, 71, was finally arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan, after a 15-year manhunt. He is the seventh suspect to be charged in connection with Sharon's murder.

He appeared in court in Islamabad last week where his extradition was discussed. He will remain in custody until another hearing on Wednesday.

You only need to spend five minutes with Lydia's father Paul to know he'd far sooner see him tried in the country to which he fled, where justice demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. 'It would be better to see him in a Pakistani prison where he wouldn't get treated as well as he would over here,' Paul says.

A file photo shows an image of Sharon Beshenivsky. On January 14, the man accused of being the gang's mastermind, Piran Ditta Khan, 71, was finally arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan, after a 15-year manhunt. He is the seventh suspect to be charged in connection with Sharon's murder

A file photo shows an image of Sharon Beshenivsky. On January 14, the man accused of being the gang's mastermind, Piran Ditta Khan, 71, was finally arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan, after a 15-year manhunt. He is the seventh suspect to be charged in connection with Sharon's murder

Paul Beshenivsky, Sharon's widower (2R) is pictured with his wife Michelle (right), son Paul (left) and daughter Lydia

Paul Beshenivsky, Sharon's widower (2R) is pictured with his wife Michelle (right), son Paul (left) and daughter Lydia 

Indeed, such is the leniency in Britain that most of the armed gang involved in PC Beshenivsky's murder were released before her children reached the adulthood. 'One got eight years but didn't even do four. One got 20 and was out in ten. It's when you get that call telling you one of them is just being released that you think to yourself, 'really?' he adds.

Paul, 57, was told 24 hours before Khan's arrest was made public that he had been caught.

'Bradford police rang on January 14 saying they'd got somebody and were 99 per cent sure it's him.'

It is the fourth time since his wife's death that he has had his hopes raised. In December 2006, police thought they had pinned him down, but when they got there someone had spirited him away. Paul adds: 'Three years afterwards they had another lead but nothing came of it. The last time must have been about 18 months ago.

'When they rang this time and confirmed it was him you feel . . .' Paul's face reddens as emotion overwhelms him. 'You just hope this will bring closure,' he says. PC Beshenivsky was just nine months into her job when she was shot dead while responding to an armed robbery on the afternoon of Lydia's fourth birthday.

She had wrapped her daughter's presents, baked the cake and was nearing the end of her shift when she answered the call to go a travel agent, where an attack alarm had been activated. Her last words to her husband were, 'make sure you're home early'. He was — but she never returned to the Yorkshire moors farm where they raised their children.

Such was the horror of that day that neither Lydia nor Paul Jr can remember life before it.

'Everything is a kind of blur,' says Paul Jr, who was seven at the time.

Queen Elizabeth II is presented with flowers by Lydia Beshenivsky, the daughter of murdered WPC Sharon Beshenivsky, during her visit to Bradford on May 25, 2007

Queen Elizabeth II is presented with flowers by Lydia Beshenivsky, the daughter of murdered WPC Sharon Beshenivsky, during her visit to Bradford on May 25, 2007

'I look at photos and remember some things but, apart from the them, there's not much else.

'I find that harder than anything, not being able to remember the past.'

He, like his father, prefers to 'brush his sadness under the carpet'.

'I know Dad doesn't like speaking about it so it doesn't get brought up between us,' he says. 'He knows I don't like speaking about it either. But Lydia's quite open about it.'

Khan was arrested on what would have been their mother's 53rd birthday. 'That was really strange' says Lydia. 'I didn't know he'd been caught until Dad told me that night but when I was driving home from work [at a nearby livery stable] I sensed Mum was around me. I just went cold. It felt really weird, not frightening, just cold.

'But his arrest doesn't change anything. It hasn't brought her back.

'When I think about what she did and what she could have done . . . ' She pauses, then thrusts her chin in the air. 'I'm applying to join the police to keep her name alive.' This is the first time Lydia has spoken publicly about her wish to pursue the career that took her mother's life. She told her father two years ago, shortly after West Yorkshire Police presented her with her mother's badge number, 6410, on her 16th birthday.

He hoped it would be a passing fad, like the week she decided to go vegetarian, but it isn't.

'My heart sort of sank when she told me,' says Paul. 'Not because of what she wants to do but because of what's happened.'

Paul Jr continues. 'I've already lost one member of my family, I don't want to lose another.

'I was cross when she told me, but if that's what she wants to do, it's what she wants to do.'

He looks at his father and you sense this is a conversation they have shared many times.

Lydia Beshenivsky, five, the daughter of murdered WPC Sharon Beshenivsky waits to present flowers to the Queen in Bradford in 2005

Lydia Beshenivsky, five, the daughter of murdered WPC Sharon Beshenivsky waits to present flowers to the Queen in Bradford in 2005

WPC Theresa Milburn, who was shot in the attack that killed her colleague Sharon, leads the funeral procession in 2005

WPC Theresa Milburn, who was shot in the attack that killed her colleague Sharon, leads the funeral procession in 2005 

Forensic investigators are pictured at the scene of PC Beshenivsky's murder in Bradford in 2005

Forensic investigators are pictured at the scene of PC Beshenivsky's murder in Bradford in 2005

A keen equestrian like her mother, Lydia achieved a distinction in her Level 2 Horse Care and Management diploma and is now completing Level 3.

Last summer she attended West Yorkshire Police's Mounted Section in Wakefield for a week's work experience and has now set her heart on joining them.

'I worked as a groom for a week and it just opened my eyes. I thought, 'I really want to do this.' Now I can't wait to get that uniform on,' she says.

'When I see photos of my mum I feel proud to say she was my mum because she looked after her community. Now I just want to follow in her footsteps.'

Sharon Beshenivsky's widower Paul is pictured with their two children Paul Junior and Lydia in an undated photo

Sharon Beshenivsky's widower Paul is pictured with their two children Paul Junior and Lydia in an undated photo  

You can see why her dad worries. Paul would do anything to protect his children. He says telling them and their half-brother Samuel, 27 — Sharon's son from a previous relationship — that their mother was not coming home was the hardest thing he has ever done. Paul says: 'What I find bizarre is I've lost my mother and my father but when I see pictures of them I don't feel sadness.

'Yet, with Sharon, even when I talk about her now, I fill up. It's 15 years on and it's still raw.'

He wells up as he says this. 'I don't like speaking about it because I don't want to promote sadness. I went to therapy after it happened.

'This therapist must have been 25. I said to her: 'Have you ever lost anybody in your life?' She hadn't. I

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