Cold case: Family search for answers over killing of their dad in road rage attack 21 years ago

Peter Swailes
Peter Swailes

The family of a man who was murdered in a road rage attack have made a desperate plea for answers, 21 years after his death.

Carrie and Elise Swailes, daughters of Featherstone man Peter Swailes, have appealed for help to track down the person who assaulted and killed their dad and bring them to justice.

Father-of-four Mr Swailes died after being struck around the head with a blunt weapon on Garmill Lane in Fitzwilliam on Friday, February 9 1996.

A reconstruction of the attack will be aired on BBC’s Crimewatch from 9pm tonight.

Speaking ahead of the programme, Mr Swailes’ family said: “Even though 21 years have passed since our dad died, we are struggling to come to terms with what happened.

“He is missed every day. He has never had the opportunity to meet his grandchildren, which breaks all of our hearts.

“We are desperate for answers about what happened that night, and plead with anyone who knows anything about how our dad died to come forward.”

West Yorkshire Police’s Cold Case Review Team is currently re-investigating Mr Swailes’ death.

The father-of-four was assaulted between 2.30am and 3am as he was returning home from a night out in Pontefract with his sister and brother-in-law.

While driving on Garmill Lane, a Maestro type car drove up behind them and began to flash its headlights.

The trio pulled over in their Triumph Acclaim car, parking in the middle of the road to block it.

Mr Swailes and his brother-in-law got out to speak with the occupants of the Maestro hatchback, which was described as either green or dark blue.

The pair argued with the male driver of the Maestro before getting back in their car.

A few seconds later the passenger window of their car was smashed.

Mr Swailes got out and was struck over the head with a blunt object.

The Maestro driver then got back in his car and did a three point turn to head back in the direction of Nostell Priory.

Mr Swailes died in hospital from his injuries.

The driver of the Maestro was 6ft to 6ft 2ins tall, slim and between 20 and 30 years of age.

He had short coloured dark hair in a crewcut style.

He spoke with a local accent and was wearing blue denim jeans, training shoes, and a sports type top with a high collar which was zipped or fastened up.

Another car and a bus drove by the two vehicles while the incident was ongoing, and the drivers of both vehicles were spoken to.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dunkerley of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Peter’s death was a massive blow for his family and one from which anyone would find it hard to recover.

“Full investigations were carried out at the time of Peter’s murder in 1996 and the case has subsequently been re-investigated but despite these enquiries no-one has been brought to justice for the matter.

“Peter died from injuries caused by at least one blow to the head from a blunt weapon. That one act robbed four children of a father and a sister of her brother.

“What they deserve to know is why. Why did the car described as a Maestro type flash them down? Why did someone then strike Peter and cause his death after the argument appeared to be concluding?

“I would appeal to anyone who has information about the attack on Peter to come forwards now and provide them with some answers.

“Over 21 years have now passed since the incident and that is a long time for someone to live with knowledge which could help this family.”

Anyone who can assist the investigation is asked to contact the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team on 101 referencing Operation Pippenmount.

Callers can also speak with the independent charity Crimestoppers in total anonymity on 0800 555 111.

The West Indian Carnival, Chapeltown, Leeds.29th August 2016 ..Picture by Simon Hulme

Capital of Culture could transform the face of Leeds business