Widow 'distraught' over disrespectful storm death book
THE widow of a Helston police officer killed in storms at Porthleven has condemned a new book about the incident as "distasteful and utterly disrespectful".
PCs Martin Reid and Joe Childs died when their patrol car was swept into the sea at the harbour on the night of December 13, 1978.
Another former Helston police officer, Jim Moran, has written the book, including his own recollections of the immediate aftermath, but PC Childs's widow Deirdre has claimed it is inaccurate, distasteful and disrespectful.
"I am extremely upset by the book," she told the West Briton. "I am distraught about it, I feel sick and I can't sleep."
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However Mr Moran insists his book, which has sold out its initial print run of 100 in the past month, was dedicated to the officers' memory.
Mrs Childs said she was approached several times to contribute by Mr Moran "but didn't want anything more to do with his project", which she believed was about his life in the police force and not specifically her husband's death.
"This book is distasteful and an utterly disrespectful epitaph to two very brave, conscientious police officers who gave their lives while dutifully serving their community."
Mr Moran said he had written the book because the incident was now part of the area's social history, and to prevent it fading from memory.
"It was never my intention to upset anyone. I dedicated it to them to honour their memory."
He said it had been well received by people he had spoken to, including former police officers.
"The Reid family have congratulated me on the book and are absolutely thrilled I've done this for Martin."
But another of PC Childs's colleagues, former Helston detective Bob Woods, supported Mrs Childs.
He said: "Some details in the book are distasteful, inaccurate and at the very least unwarranted and disturbing.
"It remains to me a very personal matter that should not have been raised and aired in public without the consent and approval of surviving family members."
A donation from the sale of the book will go to the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary widows', orphans' and compassionate fund. Mr Moran said the remainder would go on publication and production costs.