Policewoman's Body Found In West Sussex

14 November 2011, 16:25 | Updated: 17 November 2011, 11:28

Details of a funeral and a memorial service for a murdered police detective were announced today by her force..


The body of Detective Constable Heather Cooper, 33, was found last month in Blackdown Woods near Lurgashall, West Sussex, just a few miles from her home in Haslemere, Surrey.

A post-mortem examination found that she died from a blow to the head and a stab wound to the throat.

Her partner, Peter Foster, 35, was arrested and is awaiting trial for her murder.

Surrey Police announced today that her family would hold a funeral service at York Minster on Monday November 21.

A spokeswoman said: ``The service will take place at York Minster, in The Quire, the eastern part of the Cathedral, at 11am.

``Close friends are welcome to attend the service which will be followed by a private family burial.

``The service will be conducted by the Reverend Canon Glyn Webster, Chancellor of York Minster.

``There will be police outriders, uniformed pallbearers and a Surrey Police standard bearer leading the coffin into York Minster.''

A memorial service to celebrate her life will also be held at Guildford Cathedral on Tuesday, November 29, for friends and colleagues.

The police spokeswoman said: ``In lieu of flowers at the Guildford memorial service, charitable donations can be made.

``The family have chosen two Surrey charities linked to Heather's work as a police officer - Your Sanctuary in Woking and Children's Outreach in Guildford.''

Ms Cooper had served Surrey Police since 2003 and worked as a detective at Guildford Police Station. She was on maternity leave at the time of her death.

The mother-of-two was described by her family as a ``much-loved daughter, sister and granddaughter'' in a statement.

Tribute from Surrey Police

Heather was a serving detective constable with Surrey Police having joined the force in 2003 and worked in the Public Protection Investigation Unit based at Guildford Police Station.

During her career she received several letters of praise from senior officers for her work on various crimes and in 2009 was given a commendation by the Force in recognition of her “professionalism, dedication and commitment”.

Surrey and Sussex Assistant Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney says:

“Heather’s death has had a profound effect on all who knew her and we are doing everything we can to support her family at this difficult time.

“She was an exceptional officer and much loved among her police colleagues, many of whom were also her friends.

“The police service is in many ways like a family. The death of any officer is always a time of sadness but to lose Heather under such circumstances has been particularly hard to bear.

“I cannot praise enough the professionalism of Heather’s friends and colleagues within the force, many of whom have continued to do their jobs at a time of personal grief.”

Tribute from Heather's family

Miss Cooper's family later released a statement in which she was described as a ``much loved daughter, sister and granddaughter as well as a devoted mother to her children''.

It said: ``As a family we are devastated by the loss of Heather in such tragic circumstances.

``Heather was popular amongst everyone she knew and we have been touched by all the flowers and tributes we have received from her friends and her colleagues.

``She was extremely proud to serve as a police officer, often going above and beyond in her duty, and her dedication and professionalism was recognised and commended.

``Heather always had lots of energy, so much so her initials HSC could have stood for 'High Speed Cooper'. She loved life and she lived it to the full.

``We would like to thank our family, friends and the police in Surrey and in Sussex for the support they have given us during this difficult time.

``We would ask that our privacy be respected and we are left alone to grieve.''