COUNTY NEWS: Police officer who brought Brighton bomber to justice dies

Jack Reece
Jack Reece

The police officer who brought the perpetrator of the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel to justice has died.

Jack Reece, who lived in Hastings, led the investigation into the bombing in 1984 which eventually led to the arrest and conviction of IRA bomber, Patrick Magee.

He died aged 86 on November 2 at Hastings Court care home, on The Ridge, after suffering from dementia.

Jack was Detective Chief Superintendent and former head of Sussex Police CID when he retired from the force in 1986.

His friend, Tom Curry, who knew him for more than 40 years and is also an ex-policeman, said: “Jack was a great man and a great detective and a son of Hastings.

“He received the Queen’s Police Medal after bringing the perpetrator of the Brighton bombing to justice.”

Jack was married to his wife Daphne for 63 years.

She said: “He was a great policeman and really enjoyed bringing criminals to justice.

“He knew a lot of people from all over the country and the world and many of them will be coming to his funeral. He was really popular.”

Jack was also a well-known figure in the fishing and angling world and held several world records.

The retired detective was born in Yorkshire in 1929, the elder of two boys.

His brother Peter also served with Sussex Police, retiring in the rank of superintendent.

His mother was from Hastings but his father was a miner in Yorkshire.

The family moved to Hastings and Jack joined the Hastings Borough Police Force in March 1951.

He served on uniform patrol, traffic patrol and CID. He then was posted to serve in the discipline and complaints department at the force’s headquarters in Lewes.

Jack was seconded to the Regional Crime Squad (Number 6 Region) as a coordinator and took part in Operation Countryman, an investigation into police corruption in London in the late 1970s.

He worked his way up through the ranks, achieving the rank of chief superintendent in charge of Sussex Police CID.

He was in that rank when he dealt with the bombing of The Grand Hotel in Brighton.

The bombing occurred on October 12, 1984.

A bomb was planted in the hotel with the purpose of killing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet, who were staying at the hotel for the Conservative Party conference.

Although Mrs Thatcher narrowly escaped injury, five people were killed, including two high-profile members of the Conservative Party, and 31 were injured.

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