© 2019 West Midlands Police Heritage Project

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DC Michael Swindells

Michael Swindells was born in September 1959 and grew up in Hyde, Greater Manchester. At the age of 22 he met his wife Carol and in 1984 they got married with their daughter Kelly being born a year later. Michael joined the army and was a Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers serving his country for 6 years. In October 1990 he joined West Midlands Police where he held various positions, eventually ending up in criminal investigation working in the CID at Aston Police Station. On 21st May 2004 Michael heard that officers were pursuing a male wanted for an offence and with a number of colleagues he went to their aid. Earlier that day Glaister Earl Butler, a paranoid schizophrenic, had threatened a council worker trying to repair a gate outside his address. When officers approached Butler he ran off to evade arrest. Michael and his colleagues joined the chase which has continued onto the Tame Valley Canal. Michael attempted to detain Butler but he stabbed him once to the chest with a knife, through his heart. Officers tried to administer first aid but were unable to save Michael, whilst others continued the chase. After approximately 3 miles Butler was arrested and later charged with the murder of Michael. On Friday 4th June 2004 Michael’s funeral, at Lichfield Cathedral, was attended by over 1000 people with tributes being paid by his daughter and Paul Scott-Lee the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police. In May 2005, at court, Butler admitted to manslaughter due to diminished responsibility and was ordered to be detained indefinitely at a high security hospital. Michael’s brave and selfless act was recognised with a posthumous Award of the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. The medal was presented to Carol at Buckingham Palace.