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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 May 2005, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Stabbed officer joins list of heroes
By Ben Jeffrey
BBC News, West Midlands

Det Con Michael Swindells
The detective is one of several officers killed in the West Midlands
Glaister Earl Butler is the first person to be convicted of the killing of a police officer since the National Police Memorial was unveiled in London by the Queen last month.

Detective Constable Michael Swindells, whose name has already been placed on the roll of honour, was fatally stabbed by the 49-year-old as the officer tried to arrest him near Birmingham's Spaghetti Junction on 21 May last year.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how Butler, a paranoid schizophrenic, attacked Mr Swindells, 44, on a canal towpath.

Mr Swindells is one of eight policemen killed on duty in the West Midlands since 1900.

West Midlands officers killed on duty since 1900
Pc Charles Gunter - bludgeoned in 1901
Pc Albert Willits - shot in 1925
Police War Reserve Stephen Cox - run over by stolen vehicle in 1943
Det Sgt James Stanford - stabbed in 1965
Pc David Green - stabbed in 1975
Pc Gavin Carlton - shot in 1988
Pc Macolm Walker - run over by stolen vehicle in 2001
Det Con Michael Swindells - stabbed in 2004

The list includes Malcolm Walker, 46, who was murdered by Nicholas Walters in October 2001.

Walters used a stolen car to ram the officer off his police motorcycle in Perry Bar, Birmingham.

Walters, 21 at the time of the murder, was secretly recorded bragging about his crime in a chat with his girlfriend.

Speaking about her affections for a rival, Walters said: "I'm going to shoot him, I'm going to kill him like I killed that copper."

Mr Walker's death is clearly recalled in Birmingham and further afield, and his memory is preserved with a statue at the scene of his death, on the A34 Birchfield Road, which was unveiled by Prime Minister Tony Blair in July 2003.

Michael Winner, the film director and founder of the Police Memorial Trust, which commissioned that statue, has said he is trying to organise a similar tribute for Mr Swindells.

But other police deaths in the West Midlands are less well-remembered.

Pc Malcolm Walker's motorcycle
A memorial now stands at the scene of Pc Walker's murder
Gavin Carlton, 29, was murdered in Coventry on 19 December 1988 by a bank robber using a sawn-off shotgun.

Two days later, 258 people were killed in the Lockerbie plane bombing and the case was overshadowed.

Despite being unarmed, Mr Carlton, a married man from Coventry, drove after two men who had robbed a bank in Tile Hill at gunpoint.

He managed to stop the getaway vehicle but was shot in the chest by David Fisher, 22, of Newport, Gwent.

Pc Len Jakeman, 38, was also shot at point-blank range by Fisher, before the robber and his accomplice Nicholas Hill dumped a second getaway car and broke into a house, as they were pursued by a police helicopter.

Fisher killed himself before he could be arrested, while Hill was later jailed for 14 years for armed robbery.

Several West Midlands officers other than Mr Swindells and Mr Carlton have been killed while trying to arrest their killers, including Det Sgt James Stanford in 1965 and Pc David Green 10 years later.

The National Police Memorial recognises all of their sacrifices, and those of some 1,600 police officers from across the UK who have died carrying out their duties over the years.

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