Cold case update: Good response to help catch road rage killer after Crimewatch reconstruction

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Detectives have received a number of phonecalls after the reconstruction of a road rage murder was aired on BBC’s Crimewatch last night.

Featherstone father-of-four Peter Swailes died 21 years ago following a strike to the head with a blunt weapon.

The attack took place on Garmill Lane in Fitzwilliam on Friday, February 9 1996.

And now, more than two decades on, West Yorkshire Police’s Cold Case Review Team is re-investigating the case and aims to bring Mr Swailes’ killer to justice.

Detective Chief Inspector Jim Dunkerley of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team said: “We have had a number of phonecalls following the Crimewatch reconstruction that will be followed up.

“It is now 21 years that Peter’s family have had to live with this and live without answers.

“Four children have grown up without a dad and Peter never had the chance to meet his grandchildren.

“This attack deprived his family of that.

“The very least we can do is bring closure to the family and have someone explain exactly what happened that night and why.”

The reconstruction of the attack showed Mr Swailes returning home from a night out in Pontefract with his sister and brother-in-law between 2.30am and 3am.

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, believed to be a club-shaped wooden bat.

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.

An Avia watch was found at the scene, believed to belong to Mr Swailes’ attacker.

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.”

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.

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