John Stalker: Man who led probe into ‘shoot to kill’ allegations dies aged 79

John Stalker, the man who led a major inquiry into an alleged state “shoot to kill” policy in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, has died aged 79, his family announced.

Friday, 15th February 2019, 4:32 pm
Updated Monday, 18th February 2019, 10:42 am
Former Greater Manchester Police deputy chief constable John Stalker, who has passed away aged 79. Pic: Greater Manchester Police/PA Wire

Manchester-born Mr Stalker, who was one of Britain’s most high-profile officers, served in the police for more than three decades and rose to the rank of deputy chief constable.

Mr Stalker, who is survived by his two daughters, six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, had been in poor health following the death of his wife 14 months ago.

Colette Cartwright, his eldest daughter, led tributes to him.

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She 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.”

During his time as a police officer Mr Stalker travelled around the world studying terrorism and crime in Europe, the USA and South America. On his return he worked for two years in Northern Ireland, investigating an alleged state “shoot to kill” policy targeting members of the Provisional IRA – a probe that became known as ‘the Stalker Inquiry’.

After his retirement in 1987 he carved out a new career as a journalist and pursued his passion for writing, publishing an autobiography in 1988.

He also enjoyed travelling the world with his wife and spending time at their holiday home in North Wales.

Mrs Cartwright added: “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. We will always be proud of him and everything he achieved.”