Memorial service for Hackney policeman shot dead 20 years ago

Few murders have shaken the borough as much as one committed in a nondescript car park on a Hackney estate two decades ago.

Pc Laurence Brown was just 27 years old when he was shot in the chest at point-blank range as he responded to a 999 call.

The City Road-based policeman, who had a wife and four-month-old baby girl, collapsed dying in a pool of blood in a car park in Pownall Road in the early hours of August 28, 1990.

The brutal killing sent shock waves through a community which, at the time, was sadly all too used to death and destruction.

Two decades later, officers old and young came to the spot to mark the death of the promising young officer who had his whole life in front of him.

Chief Supt Steve Bending, Hackney’s borough commander, said: “The occasion was extremely poignant and a reminder to those officers currently serving at Hackney of the ultimate sacrifice made by one of their colleagues 20 years ago. It is a sacrifice we will never forget.”

Janet was joined by daughter Emma at the ceremony echoing a scene

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Few could forget the stark image of Pc Brown’s widow Doreen clutching their baby Emma in the days after the slaying.

Roles were reversed as this time Emma, who grew up never knowing her father, held her mother as they laid flowers on the spot where Pc Brown fell.

Described as an ‘honest copper’ by all who knew him, Pc Brown had been a policeman in Hackney for nine years.

On the fateful night he responded to reports on police radio that somebody was trying to break into a car.

As he walked along Pownall Road in Orwell Court on the Suffolk Estate, Mark Gaynor, an unemployed 20-year-old, pulled out a shotgun and fired directly into Pc Brown’s chest.

His colleagues, Pc Peter Townsend and Pc Fiona McDonald, rushed to his aid as he bled to death.

A few days later the thug was arrested and charged with murder and jailed for life.

A memorial erected by the Police Memorial Trust stands on the spot in

Pownall Road where Pc Brown died.