|Street Cleaner Piotr's Murderer Given Life Sentence|
Bentworth Road resident Buckingham to serve minimum of 27 years
A man from Bentworth Road in Shepherd's Bush will serve a life sentence for the murder of brave street cleaner Piotr Mikiewicz.
Piotr was stabbed to death while trying to prevent Buckingham escape after carrying out a burglary.
Buckingham told the Old Bailey he burgled a house in Chiswick last August before forcing the door of a home in Rylett Road. He went in and stole £30 and a laptop despite the burglar alarm going off. But Piotr spotted Buckingham leaving and began to strike him with his broom.
Buckingham got in his car but it failed to start. He then leapt out and knifed Piotr in the heart before making off.
Despite attempts to revive him, Piotr died at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington on 30 August 2012. A post mortem gave the cause of death as multiple organ failure following a stab wound to the chest.
Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee QC describe Piotr as "responsible and public-spirited" at the trial. He told the jury: "Mr Mikiewicz, armed only with his dust cart and broom, took on the defendant. He had a laudable sense of civic duty and right and wrong. It was to cost him his life."
After being arrested at his girlfriend's house, police found a flight had been booked for Buckingham to Cyprus, the jury was told. Buckingham, who denied murder, said he turned to burglary to feed his £100-a-day crack cocaine and heroin habit.
Detectives from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command (HSCC) based at Hendon launched an investigation and Buckingham was arrested and subsequently charged in connection with the incident.
The Recorder of London Judge Brian Barker said "cowardly" Buckingham must serve at least 27 years. Buckingham, a petty criminal and drug addict with 25 previous convictions for 51 offences, had taken the life of an exceptional man.
The judge said: "He was a brave man who acted beyond the call of duty. He ignored his own safety and he paid for his actions with his life. He was a truly exceptional man. He was a valued member of the community."
Buckingham had acted "in frustration and temper", said the judge. "On any view, it was cowardly and selfish."
Five other people were arrested in connection with assisting an offender. Two were later released with no further action and three currently remain on police bail pending further enquiries.
"He acted on pure instinct to right a wrong but unfortunately paid for his brave act with his life.
"Buckingham on the other hand had already broken into a home, stolen property before being challenged by Mr Mikewicz. In order to escape he violently attacked Mr Mikiewicz, stabbing him once through the heart.
" His actions robbed a family of a much-loved husband and son. We hope that today's conviction will offer Mr Mikiewicz's family some closure."
The murder shocked the local community last summer. Following his death, tributes poured in for Piotr, who was well known and liked in the local area. Hammersmith and Fulham Council lowered the flat at Hammersmith Town Hall to half mast and opened two condolence books, which are open at Shepherd's Bush Library and at the town hall.
Local residents also left hundreds of messages of condolence and tributes to Piotr, described by many as a "true gentleman" on the council's website. Donations to the Piotr Mikiewicz memorial fund, which was set up for his widow and immediate family, also flooded in with the total reaching nearly £30,000.
March 28, 2013