Paul Reece was a police officer who along with colleagues Emma Taylor, Ray Connell and their respective partners, went out as a party of six for celebratory drinks in October 2000 to mark the end of their firearms training.
Emma's partner Curly Watts, already concerned that her life could be put in danger, listened uncomfortably as Paul's wife Margaret and Ray's wife Claire initially made light of the fact that they could be rich widows if anything untoward happened to their husbands and was further worried when Paul admitted that it wasn't uncommon these days for criminals to be armed - with half of the area's robberies not even being reported in the Weatherfield Gazette.
Trying to allay Curly's fears, Emma explained that their training contained modules regarding risk assessment - not wholly about shooting - and casually commented that even if they did get an armed response call, the chances of using a gun would be pretty remote.
Their training was put to the test just over a week later however, when Paul and Emma were on duty the evening that youths Dean Sykes and Lenny Larkin held several members of Freshco's staff hostage during an attempted armed robbery. Ashley Peacock was able to telephone his wife Maxine to raise the alarm and police officers surrounding the building decided to storm in just as store manager Curly had almost managed to disarm Dean. Emma, dressed in combat uniform, shot Dean shortly after his weapon discharged and although paramedics were already on standby, Dean went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to Weatherfield General, but later succumbed to his injuries.
The following day, Paul turned up at 7 Coronation Street after hearing that Superintendent Jevons had already been and spoken to Emma about the incident. Having been suspended until after the enquiry, Paul told a dazed Emma he was grateful to her for saving his life and tried to allay her fears that the haunting memories would get easier in time and advised her to seek counselling.
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