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Teen who mowed down police officer in stolen jeep given 20-years

Clayton Williams
Clayton Williams

A teenage car thief has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a policeman by mowing him down in a stolen pick-up truck while being chased by other officers. Teen car thief found guilty of killing PC with stolen truck

A teenage car thief has been jailed for 20 years for the manslaughter of a policeman by mowing him down in a stolen pick-up truck while being chased by other officers.

Clayton Williams, 19, killed Pc Dave Phillips just three weeks after coming out of jail on licence for crashing another stolen car in a police pursuit.

He drove at the 34-year-old officer at around 50mph in the three-ton Mitsubishi L200 truck in what the prosecution alleged was a "cowardly and merciless act".

But jurors at Manchester Crown Court cleared him of murder and convicted him of the alternative count of manslaughter, after finding that he did not intend to kill or seriously injure the officer.

In an unusual move, the officer's widow, Jen Phillips, took the opportunity to address the court herself and to deliver her heart-rending victim impact statement from the witness box.

PC Dave Phillips

The 29-year-old, who wiped away tears, addressed Williams directly in the dock, saying: "I have wrote (sic) this because of what you have done to me and my children."

She then delivered a highly-charged address to the court, telling of her utter devastation at her husband's death.

As she spoke, jurors wept and Williams himself, head bowed, began to wipe away tears.

Pc Phillips, a father of two, was thrown into the air and died almost instantly from "catastrophic" injuries in the incident in Wallasey Dock Link Road, Merseyside, in the early hours of October 5 last year.

Cannabis-addict Williams, who said he had been using the drug since the age of six, admitted his dangerous driving caused Pc Phillips' death, but maintained he did not intend to injure anyone and only wanted to evade capture and not go back to jail.

The officer had been crouched on the kerbside deploying a tyre-puncturing stinger device to end the 80mph chase when Williams mounted the central reservation and drove at him.

Williams told the jury of nine women and three men that he was trying to drive around the stinger spikes and did not see Pc Phillips until the second before impact. He narrowly missed Pc Phillips' colleague, Pc Thomas Birkett, 23, and was earlier cleared by the jury of a charge of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent against that officer.

Mrs Phillips said she still has dreams that her husband is alive until she wakes and looks at the empty side of their bed.

"Even now I close my eyes and pray this is all a horrible nightmare. I'm living my worst nightmare."

She said that, on the night her husband died, she had held his hand, "begging" him to live, as doctors fought for 40 minutes to resuscitate him - while Williams was at the time covering his tracks.

"It is indescribable the loneliness and emptiness. Whenever I needed someone to lean on he was there to catch me and support me."

She described watching the last moments of her husband's life played out on video during the trial as "extremely horrific and harrowing".

"Who gave him the right to play God?" she asked of Williams.