THE grieving family of Sergeant Louise Gibson have described her as the "nicest, sweetest and most selfless person imaginable" - while a colleague said she brought "her zest for life into the workplace".

The body of the popular police officer was found in woodland in Great Kingshill on Monday, five days after she was last seen leaving her parents' home in the village.

Family and colleagues of the 43-year-old mum-of-three have today released tributes to her.

In a statement Sgt Gibson's family said: "We as a family would like to pay tribute to our beautiful mother, daughter and sister Louise.

"To her parents, Louise was the most beautiful, kind, loving and talented daughter you could hope for. They were so proud of her in every way. Her loss has left a hole in their hearts that can never be filled.

"To her three lovely children, she was the most amazing, beautiful mum imaginable. Her motivation, support and love made them believe that they could achieve anything. Words cannot express how much they loved, and will always love, their wonderful mother. She will always be in their hearts and they will miss her forever.

"To her sisters, Louise was an infinitely caring and selfless sibling, whose generosity and willingness to help her family and friends lit up the world around her. They could not be prouder to have been Louise's sisters and will cherish their happy memories until they see her again.

"To her family, she was a kind, generous and supportive auntie, cousin and niece, who has given them so many wonderful memories. They will always remember their special aunty and all of the love she has given them.

"Her childhood friends will remember her as a boisterous tomboy full of adventure and joy. She was always the first to climb a tree or scale the climbing frame and her bravery and energy was eclipsed only by her fierce protective nature. As an adult, she touched so many lives and will be truly missed by all who knew her.

"To her colleagues, she was a highly-respected and cherished Officer, with strong ambitions. She excelled in her work and put all others before her. Louise was not only a leader, but a friend, a surrogate mother and a confidante to so many.

"Everyone who was lucky enough to meet Louise saw how truly beautiful she was, inside and out. She was the nicest, sweetest and most selfless person imaginable, and will live on forever in thoughts of love, warmth and joy.

"Louise, you will always be loved."

Thames Valley Police released their own tribute, which included messages of condolence and memories from colleagues who had sent emails to a special address which had been set up.

The police statement said: "It is a sad week for Thames Valley Police following the loss of our colleague Police Sergeant Louise Gibson.

"Many staff and officers knew Louise personally through their work and have been deeply affected by the news. Even those officers and staff who didn’t know Louise personally will feel the loss of a member of our police family.

"Louise joined the Force in 1996 as a probationary constable before being confirmed as a substantive Police Constable in Amersham in 1998.

"During her career with the Force, Louise worked in a number of police areas including Burnham, then had a period of maternity leave and a career break, before becoming a response officer in High Wycombe in 2005.

Louise was promoted to Sergeant of Patrol Team 4 in High Wycombe at the start of 2012; a particularly proud moment for her and she continued to be a very enthusiastic, well liked and professional officer.

"An email address has been set up internally for officers and members of staff to express messages of condolence. The messages below are from some of the people who worked with Louise in Wycombe:

‘Louise was obviously well liked, respected, friendly, a decent person and a great copper. She will be sorely missed.’

‘Louise will be someone who will be remembered as a fun loving individual who brought her zest for life into the workplace. A professional police officer, a caring working mum who will be missed by all her colleagues and friends at Thames Valley.’

‘A friendly, successful and hardworking Sergeant, who constantly went the extra mile to help keep the people of Wycombe safe. I will dearly miss our chats and your lovely friendly smile. R.I.P.’

"We have also received many kind messages from the public, the wider police family and some of our partner agencies via social media and directly to the Force. We will ensure we collate these to share with Louise’s loved ones along with the messages of condolence from those at Thames Valley Police.

"All of our thoughts are with Louise’s family at this incredibly difficult time."

An inquest into Sgt Gibson's death was formally opened at Beaconsfield Coroner's Court earlier today, with a post mortem examination confirming the cause of death as asphyxiation/hanging. A full inquest is scheduled to be held at the same court at 10am on Thursday, July 24.

Meanwhile the Independent Police Complaints Commission has referred the investigation into Sgt Gibson’s death back to Thames Valley Police.