Police farewell fallen friend
THE sombre sound of bagpipes filled Rockhampton’s St Paul’s Cathedral yesterday, as a single police hat was carried down the aisle in honour of Detective Senior Constable Damian Leeding.
The father of two died in hospital last week after being shot in the face while trying to stop an armed robbery at a Gold Coast tavern.
The church was filled with politicians, police officers, local representatives and residents who wanted to pay tribute to the Gold Coast police officer who had paid the ultimate price for carrying out his duty to the community.
Members of the Rockhampton Police read out tributes for their fallen comrade, who was said to be a “quiet achiever”.
Acting Chief Superintendent Graham Coleman read a valedictory in which he commended Damian Leeding’s work as a police officer.
“He was an outstanding officer, colleague and friend to many of us and words cannot express the extent of our loss,” he said.
“The Queensland Police Service has lost an outstanding member and today we acknowledge you for your work, dedication, friendship and exceptional bravery.”
The Rockhampton memorial service was one of the services held around the State to pay tribute to the slain police officer, with thousands gathering at a service held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
A capacity of 4500 was not enough to accommodate the mourners on the Gold Coast.
Several thousand more lined the streets outside the centre.
Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said the Leeding family would have the ongoing support of Queensland’s police community.
“We can’t go back in time and bring Damian back, but what we can do is support his wife and family into the future and today we can give him the finest possible tribute,” Police Commissioner Atkinson said.