Mentally ill man 'stabbed police officer' after chase

A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed to death a detective had not been taking his medication for "months or even years" prior to the killing, a court has heard.

A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed to death a detective had not been taking his medication for "months or even years" prior to the killing, a court has heard.

Glaister Earl Butler - who denies murder but has admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility - was being cared for in the community when he stabbed Detective Constable Michael Swindells, Birmingham Crown Court was told.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Timothy Raggatt QC told the jury yesterday that they would have to decide whether or not Butler's "underlying" mental illness had produced an abnormality of mind which had driven him to kill.

The court heard that DC Swindells died on Friday 21 May last year after Butler, 49, plunged a knife into his heart on a canal towpath beneath Birmingham's "Spaghetti Junction".

Mr Raggatt told the jury: "Michael Swindells died in the execution of his duty - he was stabbed to death in the course of pursuing someone who he was trying properly and lawfully to arrest and that was the accused.

"He was stabbed in the heart with a single deep thrust of a knife. He died from that wound despite every effort by colleagues who were with him to give him first aid."

Butler, of Long Acre, Nechells, Birmingham, is alleged to have used a knife to threaten a carpenter outside his maisonette in the hours before the fatal incident. Mr Raggatt told the jurors: "Those other events are the reason he was being pursued by the detective and others.

"The central question in this case will revolve around what his state of mind was at the time he killed him. The defence are likely to suggest that you should not convict this defendant of murder."

But, Mr Raggatt continued: "The fact that someone has a mental illness, even quite a severe one, does not, of itself, give rise to the defence [of diminished responsibility]."

Butler had suffered with the condition intermittently for between 15 and 20 years and had been treated in hospital, sometimes against his will, on more than one occasion.

Mr Raggatt said: "The last of these periods ended in October 2001 when he was allowed to return to the community under what was designed and intended to be careful and thorough medical supervision."

Butler had been deemed "safe" to live in the community, Mr Raggatt disclosed, adding: "Certainly in October 2001 that was the perception of those who had charge of this man's health and welfare."

The court was told that, although Butler had been prescribed medication to stabilise his condition, the team in charge of his care could not "stand over him while he took his medicine".

Claiming Butler had become very adept at tricking his carers into believing he was taking the medication, Mr Raggatt noted: "This man, although with an underlying mental illness, was able to convince those who had charge of him that he was indeed doing as he should when he plainly was not."

After the stabbing incident, Butler ran off and had to eventually be stopped by officers who had trained their guns on him.

The trial continues.

News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the Jurassic World trailer
film

Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early

Environment
The plant ‘Nepenthes zygon’ was donated to Kew in 2004
environment
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer snapped celebrities for 40 years - but it wasn’t all fun and games
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital