Teenager jailed for 20 years for killing Pc Dave Phillips with stolen truck
A teenage car thief has been jailed for 20 years for mowing down a policeman 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 during 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 branded a "cowardly and merciless act".
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.
Drug-addict Williams had been using cannabis since the age of six and has 33 previous offences to his name.
The officer's widow, Jen Phillips, 29, broke down in tears as she told the court she has been left in a living "hell" after the killing in Wallasey Dock Link Road, Merseyside, in the early hours of October 5 last year.
In highly emotional scenes, she told the court: "I and the children are the ones living a life sentence. He not only killed my husband, he's killed something inside me too.
"If hell was real, I'm certainly living in it."
Reading from her heart-rending victim impact statement, she addressed Williams directly in the dock, accusing him of playing "God" by killing her husband.
"Even now I close my eyes and pray this is all a horrible nightmare", she said.
"I'm living my worst nightmare."
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.
Williams 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.
Jurors had heard only scant details about Williams' previous conviction and the fact that he was out on licence at the time of the fatal collision.
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 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 attempted grievous bodily harm with intent against him.
Jailing Williams, Mr Justice William Davis said the crime was aggravated because he was already on licence at the time for crashing a stolen car.
Philip Stuart, 30, of Prenton, Wirral, the passenger in the truck with Williams, had admitted burglary and aggravated vehicle-taking by being allowed to be carried in the Mitsubishi.
Stuart, who has 32 convictions for 57 different offences and was serving a community order at the time of the fatal incident, was jailed for six years.
Three other people, who burned Williams' clothes and dumped the ashes in bushes along the River Mersey, admitted conspiracy to assist an offender.
Georgia Clarke and Michael Smith, both 19, were at the home of Williams' aunt, Dawn Cooper, 34, in Wheatland Lane, Wallasey, where her nephew fled after the incident.
Clarke was jailed for a year while Cooper and Smith were jailed for two years each.
Williams will begin his sentence in a Young Offenders' Institution because of his age before being moved to a jail.