THE gunman who murdered a police officer yesterday, has been discovered dead in the grounds of Writtle church.
Police were hunting for Peter Reeve, 64, of Clacton, who is suspected of killing Pc Ian Dibell.
Reeve,who is known to have connections to the Chelmsford area, was found in the grounds of All Saints Church with a handgun nearby, police said.
Police have sealed off every route and alleyway to the churchyard, where forensic officers in white suits are now working.
A body has been covered in a green tarpaulin.
Locals said they could see the Essex Police Helicopter hovering high above the church yard and Lodge Road at around 2am on Tuesday morning.
Villager Sue Baker, 57, who uses the churchyard route to feed the ducks on The Green before shopping, said: "I was stopped by an old man I often see walking his dogs who told me the churchyard was closed and swarming with police, a dog unit and paramedics.
"He said he was asked by the police if he had heard any shots during the night but he hadn't.
"It is a terrible thing to have happened here. It is such a quiet place, particularly the church yard."
At a press conference at police HQ in Chelmsford at 10.30am, police confirmed the body was Peter Reeve. More to come