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'We've lost a trusted friend' MEMORIAL: Police pay special tribute to colleague killed on duty in crash.

Byline: By Adam Smith

A TRAGIC West Midlands detective who died in a car crash in South Africa was honoured by colleagues at a poignant ceremony.

Detective Constable Rob Ling was remembered by his comrades as a memorial was unveiled.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee unveiled the special memorial stone at Sutton Coldfield police station in a moving ceremony which was also attended by officer's family.

Det Con Ling aged 27, had gone to Johannesburg to help with the extradition of two professional hit men who were later convicted of the 1995 murder of Sutton businessman Barry Trigwell.

He was returning to the airport when the South African driver of the car he was travelling in lost control of the vehicle and the CID officer died at the scene.

The special memorial stone, funded by West Midlands Police Authority and the Police Memorial Trust, is the same as those erected for other fallen policemen across the country.

But as Det Con Ling was killed outside Britain, his memorial is at the station where he was based, instead of where he died.

Mr Scott-Lee said: "Rob was a popular and trusted friend to many people.

"He had personal qualities which made him ideally suited for the role within the police service."

"He had progressed to a position within the CID very early in his career demonstrating great potential. He was hard working and always found time to assist his colleagues in dealing with any job."

"He had a strong and likeable personality and everyone thought of him as a character."

He added: "Rob is missed as a colleague, by those who worked with him and as a loving son by his parents. He will always be in our thoughts." Det Con Ling's parents attended the special service and unveiled a special plaque in the renamed Rob Ling Training Classroom.

South African Police captain MR Kgaswana, aged 38, who was driving the car Det Con Ling was in when he died, was convicted last year of the culpable homicide of the officer. He received a three-year jail term, suspended for five years, and lost his driving licence.

Professional hitmen Paul Ras and Lauren Sundkvist were convicted of the murder of Mr Trigwell in July 2003 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr Trigwell's widow, Anne, who had ordered the killing, was jailed for life in 1996.

CAPTION(S):

TRAGEDY... Detective Constable Rob Ling was killed in South Africa.' LASTING TRIBUTE... Bob and Anne Ling at the memorial stone at Sutton Coldfield police station to honour their son watched by his colleagues. Pictures: Iain Findley.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 18, 2006
Words:433
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