Family of murdered Highland policeman said circumstances of his death “still incredibly hard to deal with”

Pc Gordon Semple, 59, with his great nephew Xander (family handout/PA Wire)

The family of Gordon Semple described his murder as “insurmountably upsetting” last night as they paid tribute to the “much loved” police officer.

Several close relatives of the former Inverness High School pupil still live in the Highland capital, including his brother Ronnie.

In a statement issued following the guilty verdict, the family said: “Gordon was a loyal and much loved long-term partner, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, cousin and friend to all.

“We were devastated when the news broke of Gordon’s murder and the circumstances, which are still incredibly hard to deal with. It is still insurmountably upsetting.

“At Gordon’s funeral we met many of his friends and work colleagues – we were proud to hear how fondly they thought of Gordon.

“Gordon will be sadly missed by our family. Gordon we miss you so much, may you rest in peace.”

Ronnie Semple, an Inverness taxi driver, had previously spoken of the family’s loss when his brother’s remains were discovered in April.

He said: “Gordon will be sadly missed by all of his immediate family, his colleagues in the Met Police, former Bank of Scotland colleagues in Inverness and London, friends from his Tartan Army days, but most of all the hardest loss is for Gary at this time.”

Highland and Islands MSP David Stewart was friends with Mr Semple at school.

Last night, he said: “Obviously it’s an extremely sad and upsetting situation for everyone, especially Gordon’s family and partner Gary.

“I’m pleased that justice has been served and sentenced will be determined next month.”

Met Police Chief Superintendent Peter Ayling said: “The details of Gordon’s murder have shocked and traumatised his partner, family, friends and colleagues.

“The responding officers and all those involved in the investigation into Gordon’s death have been affected by it, made all the worse by knowing he was a colleague.

“It is a testimony to their professionalism that Brizzi has been convicted.

He added: “Nothing will bring Gordon back, but I hope that the verdict will help all those who loved and cared for him, who considered him a friend and who worked alongside him, to come to terms with how they feel and start to move on.”