A POSTHUMOUS George Medal for gallantry has been awarded to a hero off-duty Clacton police officer who was shot dead when he tackled a gunman in the street.
The family of police constable Ian Dibell, 41, collected the medal, which is awarded for acts of great bravery, from the Prince of Wales in a private ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Pc Dibell died while trying to stop Peter Reeve, who had fired at a couple in Redbridge Road, Clacton, in July 2012.
He is the first officer in the country to receive the award in 21 years.
His father Colin Dibell accepted the medal, watched by the officer's brothers Paul, Alan and Neil. The family opted for privacy.
Reeve, 64, fired shots at his neighbour Trevor Marshall and his girlfriend, Katarzyna Karolak, and then chased Mr Marshall in his blue Toyota.
Mr Dibell leaned into the car window to try to grab the gun, and a bullet passed through his hand and into his chest.
The father of two ran back to his house to get his warrant card when he realised a gunman was on the loose, meaning that he was on duty when he died.
Reeve took his own life in a churchyard in Writtle, near Chelmsford, the next day.