Teenager who killed a Merseyside policeman found guilty of manslaughter

13/04/2016

A teenager, Clayton Williams, who killed a Merseyside police officer as he was escaping from the police following a burglary in a stolen car has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, Helen Graves, said: "Williams drove a stolen vehicle at dangerously high speeds through residential areas and then collided with a police officer who was simply doing his duty.

"His actions on that night have devastated the family of PC Phillips and robbed the police force of an upstanding and valuable member of the team.

"Williams has been found guilty of an extremely serious offence and he is now facing the prospect of jail.

"This has been a complex and difficult case and the Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank Merseyside Police for their help in bringing this case to court.

"The family of PC Phillips have behaved with tremendous dignity and courage throughout this trial, despite having to face the details of the last moments of their beloved husband, father, son and brother. Our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time."

Additional information:

Manchester Crown Court heard that Clayton Williams killed PC Dave Phillips after he drove into him with a Mitsubishi pick-up truck in Wallasey on 5 October 2015.

Williams, 19, of Wheatland Lane, Wallasey, had earlier broken into Oxton Estates estate agents with another man, Philip Stuart, 30, of Mayfair Court, Prenton.

They stole, amongst other things, the keys to the 4 x 4 vehicle which Williams then drove at high speeds for several miles across the Wirral with Stuart as a front seat passenger.

The court heard that Williams careered through red lights, drove on the wrong side of the road and down the wrong way of a one-way street. He was being pursued by two police cars as he approached Wallasey Dock Road where PC Dave Phillips, 34, placed a "stop stick" in the road.

If the defendant had driven over the device, the stop stick would have punctured the tyres and slowed the vehicle down. But, instead of driving over it, the defendant turned the truck and drove off the carriageway in the direction of PC Phillips.

The officer was struck by the front of the vehicle and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Williams then drove away and began contacting others who then helped him to cover up his involvement in the tragedy.

Williams pleaded guilty to burglary, stealing the truck and driving it dangerously and admitted that he had been driving the truck when it collided with PC Phillips, causing his death.

The prosecution had argued that Williams was guilty of murder but the jury rejected that and found him guilty of manslaughter, by a majority of 10 to 2.

Phillip Stuart, 30, of Mayfair Court, Oxton, who was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the incident, has also appeared before the court for sentence.

Stuart had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to burglary and aggravated taking of a vehicle and was given a six year jail term - three and a half years for aggravated vehicle taking and two and a half years for the burglary. He has also been disqualified from driving for three years.

Three other people were also sentenced in connection with the case. They had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to assist an offender. They admitted burning and attempting to dispose of Clayton Williams' clothing at a house in Wheatland Lane in Wallasey in the hours after the incident.

Georgia Clarke, 19, of Knowsley Road, Wallasey, was sentenced to 12 months' detention, Michael Smith, 19, of Widmore Road, Gateacre was sentenced to two years' detention and Dawn Cooper, 34, of Wheatland Lane, Wallasey to two years' imprisonment.