'I had just got out of jail', teenager accused of Pc's murder tells court


A teenage car thief who caused the death of a policeman while being chased by patrol cars had only been out of jail for three weeks after another police pursuit when he crashed into a lamppost.

Clayton Williams, 19, told Manchester Crown Court he would do "anything" to get away and ensure he did not go back to jail, after two police cars began chasing him just weeks after coming out of prison.

Williams is accused of using a stolen Mitsubishi pick-up truck as a "weapon" to drive at Pc Dave Phillips, 34, killing him instantly in Wallasey, Merseyside, in the early hours of last October 5.

The teenager, of Wheatland Lane, Wallasey, had taken the vehicle in a burglary in Birkenhead earlier, before leading police on an 80mph pursuit.

It is alleged he drove at and killed Pc Phillips, as the father-of-two deployed a stinger device to burst the pick-up's tyres and end the pursuit.

Williams admits the burglary and aggravated vehicle taking and accepts his dangerous driving led to the death of Pc Phillips.

But he maintains he did not intend to harm or injure the officer and was instead driving round the stinger spikes when he drove into Pc Phillips, who was thrown into the air and suffered "catastrophic" injuries.

He denies murder saying Pc Phillips, "jumped up out of nowhere" when he struck the officer.

Williams giving evidence from the witness box told the jury of a telephone conversation with his grandmother, Shirley Williams, made less than a minute after the collision.

"She's like, 'What are you like? You have not been out of jail three weeks, not even that'," Williams told the jury.

He said his grandmother added: "You are silly aren't you? You can't stay out long."

The defendant added: "I just wanted to get away from the police. I had just got out of jail."

Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, asked the defendant: "Why not simply stop?"

Williams replied: "It's just adrenaline you get when you get behind the wheel.

"On my last sentence I was in a pursuit for less than 10 minutes and crashed into a lamppost. I just panicked, like scared."

Mr Unsworth continued: "And would you do anything not to go back to jail?"

"Yeh," replied Williams.

Mr Unsworth put it to Williams: "Did you care whether any other members of the public were on that road? Not once did you pause at any set of red traffic lights and not once did you pause at a junction. You were putting yourself first at all times, weren't you?"

Williams replied again: "Yeh."

Earlier Williams said he had been using cannabis since the age of six and had smoked "three or four" spliffs and after buying more drugs, went with another man, Philip Stuart, to burgle a property in Birkenhead, where they stole goods and the Mitsubishi truck.

The defendant admitted taking a photo on his phone of the car and sending it to a friend to show off.

Williams said after dumping the car he went to his aunt's house in Wallasey and "broke down crying."

While there he was helped to burn his clothes, gave his phone away, and intended to give himself up but was arrested while arranging to meet a solicitor, he said.

When he saw on the news the officer had died he felt "sick", the court heard.

Williams added: "I was scared. Everyone was telling me I was going to get life. I only just got out after a short sentence."

He has admitted the burglary where the car was stolen and aggravated vehicle taking.

Stuart, 30, the passenger in the car with Williams, has admitted burglary and aggravated vehicle-taking, by being allowed to be carried in the Mitsubishi.

Williams also denies attempted grievous bodily harm with intent to Pc Thomas Birkett, 23, who was with Pc Phillips, but dived out of the way of the Mitsubishi.

Adam Davis QC, defending Williams, asked him: "Did you drive at either of these two officers intentionally?"

Williams said: "No, I just tried to avoid the stingers.

"I didn't intend to kill him, I just went out to rob the shop."

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning.