Cumbria’s “greatest ever detective” who headed up the county’s CID for 20 years, has died, aged 93.
Raymond Stanley Huddart, of Sockbridge Drive, Tirril, was born in Maryport on 6th June, 1927.
He died last Wednesday at Winters Park Care Home, Penrith, after a short illness.
Ray attended Dearham School and then went to Workington Tech College before serving in the Army as a tank driver in the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars.
In 1948, he joined Cumberland and Westmorland Constabulary where his police career began with patrolling on a bicycle in Wigton. He later served in Penrith, Keswick and Kendal before transferring to the CID in 1953.
In later years, criminal investigations took him to various locations in Europe and California. Mr Huddart remained in the CID until he retired in 1986.
He served 38 years in Cumbria police — 20 of which were as head of CID.
During a remarkable career, Ray — who was married to the late Dorothy — became the youngest head of CID in the country and was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal for distinguished service.
He played a leading part in setting up and securing HOLMES — a national police computer system that is used nationwide in major crime inquiries.
Mr Huddart was one of the first officers involved in organising, arranging, and setting up the television show Crimewatch, which launched in 1984 and proved instrumental in catching an Ambleside murderer two years later, as well as hundreds of criminals in its long broadcasting history.
On retirement, he became the national adviser to the Home Office in relation to major crime
He will be remembered for investigating scores of serious criminal offences including the case of the “mad butler”, who twice declared insane murdered five people; the murder of Billy Salkeld, an Appleby tailor who was found gagged and mutilated in his home; and the brutal killing of police officer George Russell at Oxenholme railway station.
In a long and colourful career, he also sought the master spy, George Blake, and was the subject of an attempted bribe by an abortionist.
Ray was regarded by many of those who served with him in years gone by as “Cumbria’s greatest ever detective”.
He was at the forefront of criminal investigation for many years, was well known and highly respected throughout the land, and a true legend of the force.
Hundreds of detectives working throughout Cumbria and elsewhere in his day, learned from an officer who always made time for those with whom he served.
As a successful author in retirement, Ray wrote and published two books chronicling his career in the police service — A Cumbrian Copper and The Return of a Cumbrian Copper — More Recollections of a Top Detective.
He is survived by daughter Pat Redman, sister, Marianne, grandchildren Claire and Emma, great-grandchildren Seb, Harriet, Archie and Edie, and son-in-laws Jim and George.
The funeral service was due to be held yesterday at St Michael’s Church, Barton, and Richardsons Funeral Directors, Penrith, had charge of the arrangements.