A talented academic and voluntary police officer who worked in Huddersfield for the past six years has died suddenly at the aged of just 32.

Dr Sara Gilks, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester, died at home on Saturday.

She was also a special constable – a position which means the holder possesses full police powers.

Robert Sutcliffe reports

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Dr Gilks had received commendations for her outstanding police work.

Det Insp Stef Wiseman of Kirklees CID said: “She was a special constable who worked at Huddersfield. She passed away unexpectedly at her home on Saturday, March 26.”

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The news has stunned her many friends and colleagues with several of them taking to Facebook to express their sadness at her tragically young death.

West Yorkshire detective Simon Marshall, who lives in Huddersfield, said: “Very sad indeed. There are no words.”

And Jamie Lee added: “I am actually numb! Can’t believe this is real. What a beautiful, sensitive, kind and genuine soul. God bless you Sara.”

While Kerry Burhouse said: “I am absolutely numb inside. I am so shocked and upset for such a beautiful, kind-hearted person to have passed away.”

On Dr Gilks’s LinkedIn entry she gave her current employment as Post doctoral Research Associate at the University of Manchester and West Yorkshire Police.

Prior to that she had gained an integrated masters (MSci) with First class honours in Forensic and Analytical Chemistry from the University of Huddersfield in 2009.

In between she gained a PhD from the University of Manchester, working in their Department of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Sciences and also worked nine months as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the University of Sheffield from March-November 2014.

Regarding her police work her entry says she received “two Divisional Commanders Commendations for outstanding work and contribution to policing.”