Slain officer farewelled with honour guard

·3-min read

Hundreds of Queensland police have gathered in intermittent rain to honour the loyal and dedicated service of Dave Masters, a fortnight after the senior constable, husband and father was run down in the line of duty.

Emotions were heavy on Friday as tearful tributes flowed for the much-loved 53-year-old who died when he was hit and killed by a vehicle he was trying to stop on the Bruce Highway last month.

The alleged driver and her passenger are now before the courts, accused of murder.

"We are a mess of thoughts, emotions, and feelings," Reverend Matthew Govan told the service, as the officer's widow Sharon and son Jack shed tears for a man described as their rock and protector.

"We have questions, many that may not be answered. I encourage you not to be consumed with anger about the time you don't now have with Dave, but to be happy and grateful for the time you did get to spend with him."

Just 100 mourners were allowed to attend the funeral at Burpengary, north of Brisbane, due to coronavirus restrictions.

But an army of 800 uniformed police, civilian colleagues, friends and community representatives stood outside, watching the service on a big screen.

Queensland's Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll was tearful, her voice wavering as she stood beside Snr Const Masters flag-draped coffin, adorned with flowers and the ashes of his beloved police service horse, Manny.

She recounted the slain officer's determination to join the service and how he studied justice at TAFE after working long days as a mechanic to earn his place at the police academy.

He would, over time, be many things to many people, the commissioner said - a comfort and support to victims and their families, a "go-to person and a shining light" for colleagues at the station.

But it was in 2015 that he attained his dream job as a member of the mounted unit.

It was a job that reflected a lifelong love for horses that began when his parents gave him his first steed at the age of four.

"It was one of his proudest moments," Commissioner Carroll said.

"Dave's infectious drive and dedication to policing was second to none.

"He served with honour and it is we who are honoured to have known and served with him."

Best friend Wayne Thompson delivered a eulogy that spoke of Snr Const Masters' intense drive to serve the community, to help, of his good humour and infectious smile, and of his love for his family.

"Sharon, Dave's wife, is devastated in losing the love of her life," he said. "Dave was a doting father. He was immensely proud of his son.

"Life will never be the same. There was only one Dave."

Mr Thompson spoke of the special bond Snr Const Masters formed with his service horse, Manny, and of his grief when the animal died.

"Manny's ashes and mane are on Dave's coffin today," he said.

"We all take comfort in the knowledge that Dave is riding high in the sky, on Manny, patrolling the heavens."

As the officer's coffin left the venue, the sun was out and bagpipes and drums sounded. Hundreds of officers stood, socially distanced, in a guard of honour as the PolAir chopper flew overhead.

Members of the mounted unit were there too, with them a saddled horse without a rider, symbolising the loss of one of their own.

Snr Const Masters was trying to stop a suspected stolen car when he was hit and killed at Burpengary about 3am on June 26.

The alleged driver, Skye Anne Wallis, 33, and her alleged passenger, 24-year-old Kari O'Brien, are both facing a murder charge and remain in custody awaiting their next court dates.

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