DEVASTATED colleagues of murdered street cleaner Piotr Mikiewicz have issued emotional tributes to the fallen hero in the wake of his killer’s life sentence.
Roger Buckingham, 30, was convicted of murdering Mr Mikiewicz, a husband and father, at the Old Bailey last week after a two-week trial. He was found to have stabbed his Polish victim in the heart after the cleaner had heroically tried to stop him escaping a burglary in Rylett Road in August last year.
Colleagues at Fulham-based Serco, who, in the wake of Mr Mikewicz’s death helped raise £30,000 for a memorial fund for his widow and daughter, said justice had been done.
They said in a statement: “Piotr wasn’t just a street sweeper - he was an honest, family man, a much loved friend and colleague and a genuine part of the local community who truly cared about the residents on his patch. We were all devastated by his tragic death and Piotr continues to be sorely missed by all those who knew him.
“This was a senseless crime and we are pleased to see justice done. Sadly, this won’t bring Piotr back and our thoughts today are very much with his family, friends and colleagues.”
Greg Smith, deputy leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council, said: “Justice has been served by convicting this evil man for his unforgiveable act of selfish violence. To have taken a life whilst robbing others to feed a drug habit is about as low as it gets.
“Piotr was a thoroughly decent, brave and hardworking man who was murdered for doing what he considered his civic duty. Piotr will never be able to do the job he loved again but he will also never be forgotten around here.”
Burglar Buckingham, who had a £100-a-day crack cocaine habit, was given a life sentence and must serve at least 27 years behind bars. He denied murder, saying the crime was a ‘terrible accident’.
After arresting him at his girlfriend’s house, police found Buckingham has tried to flee the country after discovering a flight booked to Cyprus for the following day.