The family and friends of a police Sergeant who died from cancer have paid a heartfelt tribute.

Leah McDermott, 46, died on June 26 from cancer leaving behind her husband, Karl and 11-year-old twins, Chloe and Abbie.

In a tribute, Leah's family said she was always passionate about the police from a young age because her father was a police Inspector in Hertford.

After leaving school, she worked for the ambulance service before joining the Constabulary as a call handler in 1995.

She then became a police constable in 2002 and worked in St Albans as an intervention officer - where she met her husband Karl. They married in 2005 and their twin daughters were born in 2009.

Karl described Leah as his "best friend, wife, the best mother and my everything". Leah and Karl would work opposite shifts so they could both spend time with their children while progressing their careers.

Throughout her 18-year career with the force, Leah worked in various locations including Stevenage, Bushey and Radlett. Her most recent position was as a Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant for Borehamwood and Elstree.

Inspector Vicki Richards, who was Leah's former manager and close friend, described her as "an inspiration".

She added: "She was incredibly organised, motivated, knowledgeable and caring, whilst still maintaining an air of authority and strength of character immediately apparent to officers and offenders alike.

"Leah was an extraordinary person and an outstanding police officer who I have been honoured to work with.

"This wasn’t just her job, it was who she was."

Leah's colleagues and friends across the force described her as "efficient, compassionate, dedicated, a great boss who wanted you to achieve your best, hardworking and a multi-tasker".

Outside of her family and career, Leah was also a personal trainer and ran for the London Marathon in 2018. She also found time to be a school governor.

A private funeral will be held for Leah next week with limited family and friends in attendance due to coronavirus restrictions.

The cortege will travel past Stevenage police station on Lytton Way where colleagues will also be able to pay their respects.

On the same day, the flag at police headquarters in Welwyn Garden City will fly at half mast as a mark of respect.