Car thief who killed woman, 42, admits manslaughter

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The Independent Online

A thief who ran over a woman as she tried to stop him stealing her car yesterday admitted her manslaughter.

Shaun Higgins left Lynda Hankey, 42, for dead when he drove off in her MG sports car outside her home in Wigan, Greater Manchester, in January. The incident was witnessed by her partner, Jamie Hudson, and Ms Hudson's five-year-old son.

Higgins, of Leigh in Wigan, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at Liverpool Crown Court. He had admitted aggravated vehicle taking and causing death by dangerous driving while disqualified from driving at a previous hearing in March.

Ms Hankey, the mother of two adult sons, was planning a shopping trip with Ms Hudson and had left the engine running while she went into her house momentarily and returned to see Higgins, 23, sitting in her vehicle.

As he sped off, her head was smashed into the bonnet of the yellow MG and she was thrown into the road outside the house in Worsley Mesnes. Ms Hankey, a DHL delivery driver, later died of her injuries at hospital.

Higgins had pleaded not guilty to murder and was due to stand trial next week. But at court yesterday, prosecutors asked for the charge to be put again.

This time the defendant pleaded guilty to manslaughter as an alternative to murder.

Andrew Edis QC, for the prosecution, said: "This is not a resolution which will bring happiness to Ms Hankey's family. Nevertheless, it is the appropriate course."

Ms Hudson attended court supported by family and friends.