TRIBUTES have been paid to a former police deputy chief constable from Lymm after his death at the age of 79.

John Stalker - one of the country’s top policemen in the 1970s and 80s – died earlier today, Friday, his family have announced.

The Lymm resident famously headed up the Stalker Inquiry - a police investigation into the shootings of a number of suspected IRA members in the 1980s.

His eldest daughter Colette Cartwright said: “Our dad John was a beloved husband, grandfather and great-grandfather who enriched the lives of many.

“After marrying my dear mum Stella in 1961 he spent his life as a devoted police officer, proudly serving the people of Greater Manchester for over 30 years.

“He is fondly remembered by many as going above and beyond the call of duty and was committed to making a difference for those most in need.

“As testament to this, he devoted his life to a career in CID where he worked for 16 years, rising to the rank of detective superintendent.

“Respected by many of his colleagues, he had a varied career and held posts in the serious crime squad and the bomb squad – he also became the first head of the drugs squad.

“In 1978, aged 38, he was appointed head of Warwickshire CID - the youngest detective chief superintendent in the country - later becoming deputy chief constable of the Greater Manchester Police in 1984, the biggest police force in the provinces.

“This is something that my dad worked so hard for and we, as a family, will always be immensely proud of his accomplishments.”

Warrington Guardian:

John Stalker at the former Cotebrook House in Lymm in 2005

Having studied policing around the world, Mr Stalker also wrote for a number of national newspapers including the Sunday Times, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph and the Sun.

His autobiography Stalker went on to become a best-seller – shifting more than 400,000 copies worldwide.

Ms Cartwright added: “During his time as a police officer, he travelled around the world studying terrorism and crime in Europe, the USA and South America and on his return he worked for two years in Northern Ireland.

“When he retired in 1987, he carved a new career as a journalist and pursued his passion for writing - subsequently publishing an autobiography in 1988, which touched on his longstanding and illustrious career.

“My mum and dad were great partners and enjoyed nothing more than travelling the world - they enjoyed spending time at their holiday home in North Wales, spent many holidays in South Africa and held precious memories of spending time together exploring new places.

“I’d like to thank all those at Greater Manchester Police who are helping us through this incredibly difficult time, and I think their support is reflective of the spirit of my dad and his commitment to policing throughout his life.

“My dad will be sorely missed by all lives he has touched both professionally and personally.

“We will always be proud of him and everything he achieved - we love him and will miss him so much.”