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Clayton Williams convicted of PC Dave Phillips's manslaughter

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Media captionThe BBC's Ed Thomas reports on how the chase - captured on police dashcam - unfolded

A car thief has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a policeman by running him over in a stolen pick-up truck during a chase.

Clayton Williams, 19, struck PC Dave Phillips, 34, after a high-speed police pursuit in Merseyside in October.

He was crouched on the kerb deploying a stinger device when Williams mounted the central reservation and hit him.

Williams was cleared of murder but ordered to serve 20 years, initially in a young offenders institution.

He was also banned from driving for life.

PC killer had failed to stop before

The police officer's widow, Jen Phillips, cried as she read out her victim impact statement and said to Williams: "I want you to know what you've done to me and my daughters.

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Media captionJen Phillips said her husband was a kind, genuine man

"Tears flow as I cry myself to sleep every night. It's soul destroying.

"I have to be strong for the sake of my children. How do I do that, when the children cry for their daddy?"

She said she cannot sleep at night and when she does "she dreams of her husband alive".

Several jurors at Manchester Crown Court were in tears as Ms Phillips finished her statement.

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Image caption Clayton Williams was ordered to serve 20 years, initially in a young offenders institution

Hannah Whieldon, PC Phillips's sister, said in a statement to the court: "Life is now joyless. Every time I laugh, my heart lurches at the unfairness of it all.

"I will never be the same again. I don't know how to be normal again now.

"He was a good man, a brave man, the best brother, he'd never let you down.

"Williams killed him, broke his body until his heart ruptured and took away his soul.

"While we grieved Clayton Williams grinned like an idiot."

She said her daughter had said she also wanted to die "so she can be with her uncle".

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Media captionCCTV footage shows the police pursuit that led to PC Phillips's death

Analysis by Ed Thomas

With a dignity and bravery that has distinguished the family of PC Dave Phillips throughout this trial his widow took to the stand.

Jen Phillips read out her witness impact statement in front of the teenager who took her husband's life.

She held back tears and told Clayton Williams: "I want you to know what you have done to me and my daughters."

The 19-year-old cried in the dock - the only emotion he's shown throughout the trial - but so too did jurors and detectives of many years experience.

Ms Phillips told Williams that her eldest daughter Abigail had gone from being a confident little girl to a scared seven-year-old who cannot sleep, fearing monsters at night.

Looking straight at Williams, Ms Phillips asked: "Who gave you the right to play God?"

Williams looked down to the floor of the dock.

She told the court "My heart is broken, he has destroyed me."

As her family sobbed the widow described how nothing would ever be the same and said: "If hell was real, I'm currently living in it."


Sentencing, the judge said: "I regard this as a very grave offence of manslaughter, you were on licence at the time.

"Any remorse is false. As that poor policeman was fighting for his life, you were covering it up."

The judge recognised Williams did not deliberately attempt to cause serious harm, but did deliberately drive the car at PC Phillips.

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Image caption PC Phillips's widow Jen and his parents and family attended the trial

Williams's solicitor Andrew Egerton said in a statement: "The Phillips family have been put through a terrible ordeal and have had to relive the events, committed to camera, of the night of the officer's death.

Image caption Flowers were left at the scene of the police chase in Wallasey in Merseyside

"There are no "winners" in a case such as this. PC Phillips's death has touched the hearts of many in our community, our country and indeed worldwide.

"Mr Williams comes from a deprived area of Merseyside and clearly, as was demonstrated in his evidence, had a lack of education and a lack of opportunity."

The Wallasey teenager, who was out on licence from jail after crashing into a lamppost in another police pursuit five months earlier, told the jury he had no intention of hitting the officer.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption PC Dave Phillips, a married father-of-two, died from internal injuries

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

Williams told the jury he was trying to drive around the stinger spikes and did not see PC Phillips until the second before impact.

Fellow officers tried to save PC Phillips's life but he died shortly after arriving at hospital.

Williams was found not guilty of attempting to wound another police officer on Friday.

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