Emotional tributes have been paid to Constable John Davidson who was murdered in 2017 after responding to a 911 call in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Const. Davidson moved to Canada from the UK with his family ten years ago and joined the Abbotsford Police Department after starting his policing career with Northumbria Police some 17 years earlier.
Constable John Davidson was responding to multiple 911 calls which were made to the Abbotsford Police Department after gunman Oscar Arfmann was seen firing shots into a truck that was blocking the path of a car he had stolen several days earlier.
The 53-year-old police officer arrived at the parking lot where the shots had been fired and exited the his police vehicle to confront the gunman.
Oscar Arfmann shot Constable Davidson within seconds of him emerging from his police vehicle.
As Constable Davidson lay seriously injured on the ground, Arfmann shot him again in the back.
Constable Davidson was shot in the back as he lay injured on the floor
At the time of the shooting, local media reports incorrectly stated that Constable Davidson had died during a shootout.
But Constable Davidson’s son, Drew, said that this misinformation had caused considerable distress to his family.
Drew Davidson said:
“My father did not die in a shootout.
“He was shot from behind after getting out of his car and again while lying face down on the ground,” he said.
“He never saw Oscar Arfmann target him and he was executed in a calm and calculated manner simply because he was wearing a police uniform and was there to protect the public.”
Arfmann had pleaded not guilty to murdering the much-loved police officer, which meant that his family had to endure a trial during which distressing audio and visual evidence was shown to the court.
However, following a trial that finished this week and after a guilty verdict, Justice Carol Ross sentenced the 68-year-old former truck driver to life behind bars.
Arfmann will not be eligible for parole for at least 25 years.
Constable Davidon’s wife, Denise, gave a victim impact statement in court before Arfmann was sentenced.
Mrs Davidson pointed out that her husband wasn’t just murdered; he was executed, shot in the back.
“Without fail and to this day, the first thing I see when I wake up is John falling to the ground face first. I can’t help but imagine the immense pain of a bullet ricocheting through his chest,” she said.
“He was shot and killed from behind … killed like an animal.”
Arfmann seemed indifferent to the emotional victim impact statements which were read out by Const. Davidson’s family, even as the many police officers and friends who came to lend their support to the Davidson family reached for boxes of tissues which had been placed on the wooden benches of the public gallery.
Justice Ross asked Arfmann if he wanted to speak before he was sentenced.
CBC reports that Arfmann stood up and began a rambling speech in a soft voice that was almost impossible to hear from the gallery.
He apparently showed no emotion as Ross sentenced him. He was later led out of the court by sheriffs to begin serving his sentence.
Denise Davidson said she finds it difficult to find any happiness in life, and all she cares about are the three children who each took their turn beside her in front of Arfmann, speaking about their tragic loss.
The couple took their family to Canada to escape concerns about the youth culture that had worried Davidson in the UK.
“I will love him for that for the rest of my life,” Denise Davidson told the court. “And hate Oscar Arfmann who ended his life so intentionally.”
Throughout Constable Davidson’s distinguished career spanning 24 years on two continents, he never fired his weapon.
His wife said he was immensely proud of that fact.
“He was a British bobby through and through.”
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