British Columbia

'As brave as a lion': Const. John Davidson's U.K. colleagues in mourning

Det.-Const. Keith Howells had always planned on coming to Canada to visit his former co-worker Constable John Davidson in Abbotsford. Now he's planning a trip to B.C. to lay his friend to rest.

Davidson was a member of the Northumbria Police from 1993 to 2005

John Davidson (left) and Keith Howells bonded over cycling, soccer and running. (Keith Howells)

Det.-Const. Keith Howells with the Northumbria Police Department had always planned on coming to Canada to visit his former co-worker Const. John Davidson in his new home of Abbotsford, B.C. Now, he's planning to make the same trip to lay his friend to rest.

The pair first met in 1993 when Davidson joined the Northumbria Police in northern England, and bonded over their shared loves of soccer and cycling.

"John was as brave as a lion, he was always the first one in if anyone's life (is) in danger," said Howells. "He was a real selfless man and his bravery cost him his life."

John Davidson (second row, second from the left) and Keith Howells (second row, third from the left) early in their policing careers, with the Northumbria Police. (Keith Howells)

Davidson had been a member of the Abbotsford Police Department since 2006 when he was shot and killed while trying to arrest a suspect who had opened fire in a parking lot. 

Oscar Arfmann, 65, of Alberta has been charged with first degree murder in the death of Davidson.

Northumbria Police in mourning

Howells says Davidson's former colleagues have been in mourning since they first heard of his death.

"Every day myself and my colleagues shed a tear for John," he said. "He used to tell people ... a quote from his old police inspector about John 'underneath that dour Scottish exterior lies a heart of gold'. Believe me, there was nothing dour about John Davidson, there was a heart of gold, no doubt about that."

​Acting Chief Const. Winton Keenen of the Northumbria Police said in an online statement, "We were very saddened to learn of the death of our former colleague who died bravely in the line of duty while serving as an officer in Abbotsford, Canada."

Det.-Const. Keith Howells will be in Abbotsford for John Davidson's funeral on Sunday. (Det. Const. Keith Howells)

Davidson's family asked Howells to be a pallbearer at his funeral Sunday. 

"There was never a doubt in my mind I'd go if I was asked," said Howells.

He will be accompanied by two of Davidson's former colleagues.

Davidson is survived by his wife and three adult children.