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Widow of Pc Dave Phillips weeps as court is shown officer's final moments

Published 08/03/2016

Jen Phillips, wife of Pc David Phillips, with his parents, Carol and Robin, arrive at Manchester Crown Court for the trial of Clayton Williams, who is charged with the officer's murder
Jen Phillips, wife of Pc David Phillips, with his parents, Carol and Robin, arrive at Manchester Crown Court for the trial of Clayton Williams, who is charged with the officer's murder

A police officer's widow wept as a court was shown the final moments of her husband's life before he was allegedly murdered by a teenage car thief in a "cowardly and merciless act".

Jen Phillips dabbed her reddened eyes with a tissue as the video footage of her husband, Pc Dave Phillips, was played to Manchester Crown Court as he was hit by the stolen Mitsubishi pickup truck driven by Clayton Williams.

Pc Phillips, 34, was shown crouching to deploy a stinger device but the father of two stood "no chance" as he was hit by the vehicle, used as a "weapon" by Williams, the jury heard.

The Merseyside Police officer was tossed into the air before falling lifeless on to the roadway. His injuries were not survivable, the court heard.

The defendant, 19, wearing a white T-shirt and blue North Face tracksuit, sat in the dock listening as Mrs Phillips and other family wept in the public gallery.

Williams told officers he had smoked cannabis before stealing the truck in a burglary then leading police on an 80mph chase through Wallasey, Merseyside, in October last year.

But he denies a charge of murder, saying he did not intend to injure or kill the officer.

The jury was shown a series of slowed-down video recordings, frame by frame, showing the Mitsubishi approaching Pc Phillips as he crouches down to deploy the stinger.

Grainy images taken at a distance show him going over the truck and his colleague running out of the way.

Mrs Phillips dissolved into tears along with other members of Pc Phillips's family as the recording was played over.

Earlier Ian Unsworth QC, prosecuting, told the jury of nine women and five men that at around 1am on October 5 last year Williams, of Wallasey, and another man, Philip Stuart, 30, of Prenton, Wirral, had burgled Oxton Estates, a shop in Birkenhead, stealing keys to the Mitsubishi.

It was spotted in Birkenhead by police but made off at speed followed by an unmarked police BMW and a liveried police Volvo, which began recording the chase on a dashboard camera.

Williams clocked 80mph as he drove over several miles through Wirral during the 10-minute pursuit, at one point hitting a parked Ford Fiesta, the court heard.

Pc Phillips, working a 10pm to 7am night shift from Wallasey police station with Pc Thomas Birkett, scrambled to help the pursuit, driving to Wallasey Docks Link Road, where Pc Phillips, standing on the central reservation, threw the stinger device across the dual carriageway.

Just before 2.08am the truck and pursuing police cars approached the area, with Williams doing 70mph on the 30mph stretch of road.

"Pc Phillips moved backwards from where he was," Mr Unsworth said.

"Once the truck was a very short distance from the officer, the defendant turned it sharply to the left.

"It was, you may think, a cowardly and merciless act. Pc Phillips's fate was sealed."

He was hit by the front of the truck, suffering "catastrophic" injuries.

After hitting the officer, Williams then drove back on the roadway and drove in the direction of Pc Birkett, who had to leap out of the way, before Williams fled the scene into the night, the court heard.

Williams denies a second count of attempted grievous bodily harm with intent to Pc Birkett. He has admitted the burglary where the car was stolen and aggravated vehicle taking.

Despite efforts to save his life, Pc Phillips was pronounced dead in hospital at 3.15am.

Mr Unsworth continued: "The prosecution contend that the defendant's actions went beyond that which he is prepared to admit.

"We suggest that the defendant used the truck as a weapon and that he used it to murder Pc Phillips."

Arrested the next day, Williams told officers "I give up, I give up", before he stated: "It's not me."

In a series of prepared statements, he accepted he was involved in the burglary and was the driver of the truck and had smoked "a spliff" that night.

Later Williams said he was "a cannabis addict" who was heavily under the influence at the time of the incident.

Mr Unsworth told the jury: "The harsh reality is that for all the defendant's varying accounts, he chose to drive off the carriageway.

"He chose to drive towards Pc Phillips, a person he could clearly see. He chose to turn sharply to the left. He chose to drive directly at Pc Birkett. He chose to flee the scene and he chose to evade arrest.

"Pc Phillips had little choice. The defendant denies that he intended to injure either officer and that this was all an unfortunate accident."

The trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning.

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