Memorial to heroic officer desecrated with silver paint

A MEMORIAL to a policeman killed as he went to the aid of a colleague has been vandalised.

The stone was daubed in graffiti resembling a swastika and wreaths were ripped up at the spot opposite Leeds Parish Church where Sergeant John Speed was shot 26 years ago.

A spokeswoman for West Yorkshire Police urged any witnesses to come forward saying: "Its being treated as racial damage, there was a silver swastika sprayed on it.

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She two people, one aged 19 and another teenager, had been arrested in connection with the incident and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Officials at the church found the damage on Saturday morning – a week after the annual remembrance service for the police officer.

Senior verger Iain Howell was alerted by a church warden and said he was "disgusted" by the vandalism.

Sgt Speed was shot after going to the aid of a colleague who was fired on during what was a routine check on two men acting suspiciously near Leeds Parish Church.

As Pc John Thorpe, 33, who was first on scene, lay injured, the gunman turned his weapon on Sgt Speed, 39, seconds after he arrived at the scene.

Sgt Speed died shortly after the shooting in October 1984. Pc Thorpe was seriously wounded, but survived.

The killer, David Gricewith, was only identified as the gunman after his own death, more than two years later.

Police were chasing his vehicle following a raid on a supermarket at Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, when Gricewith's sawn-off shotgun went off accidentally, shooting him in the stomach.