A drunken labourer who killed two police officers by deliberately ramming their patrol car as they tried to stop his van after a high-speed chase was jailed for life yesterday.
Leayon Davi Dudley, 39, mounted a kerb at more than 80mph to drive straight at PC Bryan Moore and PC Andrew Munn as they were climbing out of their vehicle. Both men were killed instantly as the car exploded into a fireball.
A jury took 12 hours to find Dudley guilty of murdering PC Moore, 39, and the manslaughter of his colleague on the A42 at Worthington, Leicestershire, on 15 August last year.
The father-of-two had been chased for 50 miles after he had gone to the home of his former partner to seek a reconciliation, only to drive away in a jealous rage when told she had a new boyfriend.
The trial at Stafford Crown Court heard Dudley, who had been drinking heavily before he confronted his girlfriend, was followed by at least five police vehicles and a helicopter as he drove from Birmingham along the M42 into Leicestershire.
The dead officers, who between them had five children and 27 years' service with the Leicestershire force, were radioed to lay a "stinger" device across the road to bring Dudley's white Transit van to a halt.
But as the two men got out of their marked car, Dudley, who had previous convictions for attacking police officers, drove directly at PC Moore, who was emerging from the driver's door.
PC Munn, 37, could not be seen as he climbed out from the passenger side, leading the jury to clear Dudley, from Acocks Green, Birmingham, of murdering the officer.
The judge, Mr Justice McCombe, told Dudley he was guilty of "appalling offences" and commended the two officers for their bravery. "They unhesitatingly attempted to take action which almost certainly prevented injury or even death to members of the public," he said. "It is the greatest tragedy that such service cost them their lives."
The court heard that Dudley punched and swore at officers even as they attempted to rescue him from his upturned van after the crash and had to be subdued by CS gas spray.
After receiving treatment for minor injuries, Dudley told one police officer that he had been trying to take his own life. "How would you feel if you found your missus in bed with another bloke? I just wanted to get far away and end it. I just wish it had been me," Dudley had said.
Speaking after the verdicts, the families of the dead officers spoke of their anger at Dudley. Allison Munn, the wife of PC Munn, said: "This man's decision to take my husband's and his colleague's lives was in no way accidental. It was because he saw them as targets."