Police hero Derek Horne, who disarmed a gunman who tried to hijack his vehicle in Dundee, has died aged 69.
He risked his life to wrestle an automatic pistol from the hand of Brian Stark, who threatened him in Reform Street in October, 1980.
Stark, of Montrose, who was 26 at the time flagged down a van being driven by Derek, who was a sergeant at the time.
When Sergeant Horne stopped his vehicle, Stark demanded to be taken to Montrose.
The officer told him to take a taxi but Stark jumped into the vehicle and produced a Walther PPK automatic pistol.
Sergeant Horne immediately tried to pin Stark down. He lent on him while managing to use his free hand to radio for help.
The officer had managed to wrestle the pistol from Stark by the time help arrived.
In an interview after the incident, Sgt Horne said at the back of his mind was the thought it was not a lethal weapon.
It was only when the pistol was examined at police headquarters and it was discovered to contain six live rounds, that he began to shake.
Stark, a student of Mearns Drive, Montrose, was later jailed for a year. He told the court he bought the weapon in an Aberdeen pub and viewed it as a novelty.
Derek was awarded a Queen’s Gallantry Award for his bravery.
Derek Horne was born in Dundee and educated at Morgan Academy.
He began a quantity surveying course at university but decided a career “counting bricks” was not for him.
His wife Lena said: “He told the story that he was in the pub and made up his mind to join the police, so he walked straight into Bell Street with his long hair. They told him to ‘come in laddie’ and that was the start of his police career. He ended up as a chief superintendent.”
Derek started as a beat officer with the former Dundee City Police and often worked from a police box in Blackness Road.
He then transferred to the traffic department and passed his driving exams with a first-class grade.
In the late 1970s, Derek was accepted on to the accelerated promotion scheme.
Bill Harkins, former assistant chief constable of Tayside said: “This involved passing both sergeants and inspectors exams first time and then being interviewed by a chief constable from another force.
“Derek’s potential had been spotted and after a year’s programme in which he worked in several departments and visited other forces, he was promoted to sergeant.”
In 1985 he began work in the police control room then returned to section sergeant duties in 1989, working from Maryfield.
Later that year he was promoted to inspector, working on command and control and project managing computer systems.
Derek was later promoted to chief inspector in charge of the Safer Cities project in Mid Craigie and the Passport to Sport scheme.
In 1994, he had a spell as a chief inspector at Perth before returning to Dundee the following year.
Promotion to superintendent came in 1997 when Derek took charge of the force’s communications and information technology systems. He was promoted to chief superintendent in 1999.
One of Derek’s great passions was motorcycles. He got a moped when he was 16 and soon progressed to larger bikes.
His wife, Lena, said he got to the stage where he could not longer count all the bikes he had owned. Most of them were BMWs.
The bike he is best remembered for is a 1975 BMX R90s, which he owned for more than 30 years and which was featured in a classic motorcycle magazine.
The bike he and Lena used for annual holidays to Europe was a BMW 1200. They also used it to take part in the Scotia Challenge, a Scotland-wide treasure hunt running from spring to Christmas.
In 2018, realised an ambition by riding across Europe to the Baltic states and visiting the border between Estonia and Russia.
On the return from that trip he proposed to Lena on the Swilcan Bridge, St Andrews, during the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, an event to raise money for prostate cancer and mental health organisations.
Derek was a regular golfer and played at Carnoustie and later Drumoig. He also fished regularly at Lochinver.
The family’s announcement can be read here.