Blacktown Police dedicate memorial to slain officers William Riley and Maurice McDiarmid

NOT FORGOTTEN: Blacktown Police Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald pays his respects at a memorial to slain officers Sergeant 1st Class William Riley and Sergeant 3rd Class Maurice McDiarmid. Picture: Harrison Vesey
NOT FORGOTTEN: Blacktown Police Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald pays his respects at a memorial to slain officers Sergeant 1st Class William Riley and Sergeant 3rd Class Maurice McDiarmid. Picture: Harrison Vesey

A solemn memorial stands to remind Blacktown police officers of the price paid by two of their colleagues.

William Riley and Maurice McDiarmid were both killed in the line of duty on September 30, 1971, while trying to apprehend a murder suspect in Toongabbie.

They are now remembered by commemorative plaques outside Blacktown Police Station, as well as a plinth at the entrance to the memorial rose garden at the NSW Police Academy.

The plinth features two police caps pictured the way they fell when the men were murdered, and bears the words: “For The People”.

Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald said the permanent memorials were important for police and the community.

“I hope it’s a reminder when you come to work, you do the job to the best of your ability and go home to your family,” he said.

Acting Inspector Lauren Martin said Police Remembrance Day gave every officer a chance to think about those who didn’t make it home.

“It’s good to have a visual reminder so you can reflect on what could happen when you come to work,” she said.

Sergeant 2nd class Riley and Senior Constable McDiarmid were attending a home in Mimosa Avenue, Toongabbie, following reports a man had raped a woman and shot her lover, who was also his brother.

The offender, Ronald Clarke, shot and killed both officers as they attempted to surround him. He was shot and killed by police in Hillview later that day.

“It is a very sad day for all those who believe in upholding the law and order,” Police Commissioner Norman Allen said at the time.

Both officers were posthumously promoted for their outstanding courage and devotion to duty.

More than 400 officers attended their funeral in Blacktown. They were laid to rest at Pinegrove Cemetery with plaques bearing the inscription: “Doing His Duty”.