PC Dave Phillips: Widow Jen's emotional court statement as teenager found guilty of manslaughter

A widow tells of her anguish following the killing of her police officer husband

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The Independent Online

A courtroom fell silent as the widow of a policeman mowed down and killed by a cannabis-addicted teenage car thief made an emotional victim statement after the youth was found guilty by a jury of her husband’s manslaughter and jailed for 20 years.

PC Dave Phillips, 34, a father-of-two, was knocked over by Clayton Williams, 19, in a stolen Mitsubishi pick-up truck while the teenager was being chased by other officers in Wallasey, Merseyside, on 5 October last year.

He died almost instantly from catastrophic injuries while Williams, who was cleared by the jury of murder and found guilty of manslaughter, went on the run. The officer’s widow, Jen Phillips, 29, broke down as she gave this statement at Manchester Crown Court: 

The actions of Mr Williams have dramatically affected my life. Since the night he killed my husband I find it difficult to sleep.  Every night I turn over in bed, look at my husband’s side of the bed, the empty space next to me, where my husband should be sleeping.

I wish him goodnight and tell him how much I love and miss him. The tears follow, as I cry myself to sleep. Even now I close my eyes and pray this is all a horrible dream. I am living my worst nightmare.


Abigail and Sophie with their father (PA)

I have regular flashbacks from the night my husband was killed: something as simple as a car door closing at night to trigger the flashbacks. Every fine detail, played out in my mind. The knock on my door from two male police officers, particularly noticing the tear-stained blood-shot eyes of one of the officers, to arriving at the hospital and being told by the doctors they had been trying to resuscitate Dave for 40 minutes and him not responding, to me sitting next to Dave, holding his hand, begging him to fight for his life and not leave me, while the doctors continue to perform CPR on him.

Praying, “Please bring him back to me” ... watching my husband die in front of me and there’s absolutely nothing I can do. This was all happening while Mr Williams was trying to cover his tracks. It’s soul-destroying. Something that will always stay with me, and haunt me for the rest of my life.

I have lost over two-and-a-half stone in weight since 5 October and the weight loss continues.

I not only have to grieve for myself, but to grieve for my children, run a household, and continue “normally” for the sake of my children. But things are not normal. Dave was very hands-on with household chores, with the kids, doing school runs and so on. He also dealt with the finances. We shared everything. 50-50 parenting.


Clayton Williams was convicted of PC Dave Phillips's manslaughter (PA)

I’ve now had to take on his role. I have to be strong for the sake of my children, protect them, console and support them. As a parent, you want to make everything better for your children, take away any pain they may have. How do I do that? When the children cry for their daddy asking me to bring him back to them, the one wish they want, while sobbing uncontrollably... The one thing I can’t give them. It’s gut wrenching, it’s torture.

The night is when I cry uncontrollably, by myself, in bed, with this gut-wrenching pain. The tears can’t keep up as the pain intensifies. The pain... It’s indescribable. The loneliness and emptiness. 

The relationship I had with my husband, we were very close to each other. We told each other everything and supported each other throughout. He was my left arm, as I would say, my best friend. Whenever I needed someone to lean on, he was there to catch and support me.

Less than a month after losing my husband, my Nan was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died a month later. The person I needed most in my life to support me and console me wasn’t here. I needed him, my husband. I still do. 

My next big hurdle is my wedding anniversary on 15 April. It would have been our fifth wedding anniversary. The plans we made to celebrate our special day have had to be cancelled. Now my wedding anniversary isn’t a day of celebration, but a day of utter sadness. 

Watching the CCTV footage of Mr Williams kill my husband [during the trial] was extremely horrific and harrowing: seeing and hearing Dave’s final moments. Why did Mr Williams decide he would be the one to end my husband’s life? Who gave him the right to play God? That night, once the kids were asleep, I sat on the end of my bed staring at the floor for over an hour. What I witnessed earlier on was starting to sink in. I felt numb, shocked and overwhelming anger. How could Mr Williams do something like that, not just to Dave but to a person?

Mr Williams has destroyed this happy family. He’s a thief. He’s stolen the one person who meant the absolute world to me, who I gave my whole heart to, the person I married to grow old with and create a lifetime of wonderful memories along the way with. Gone. I can’t bear the thought that I have to carry on my life, without him by my side. 


Footage of the chase (PA)

I can’t put into words how much my heart is broken and how much Mr Williams has destroyed me. I and my children are the ones living a life sentence, as our pain, torture, and heartache is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives. He’s not only killed my husband but he’s killed something inside of me too. If hell was real, I’m currently living in it.

The actions of Mr Williams have dramatically affected my children Abigail, who is seven, and Sophie, three.

Abigail was a confident, outgoing, happy child, always smiling. After the night her father was killed, she has become withdrawn, very insecure, needing comfort. She’s scared of the dark and is scared of monsters. Most nights she tries to come into my bed, crying, saying she wants to be with me and she doesn’t want to be on her own. Sophie too believes there are monsters, is scared of the dark and is always trying to come into my bed at night crying, not wanting to be on her own.

Abigail was aware that her daddy had to deal with dangerous criminals in his job. Her daddy was her hero, her knight in shining armour, her police officer daddy that stopped the bad guys and put them in jail, while protecting us. She believed the good guys always won and the bad guys never. Now she has to live with the reality that the bad guy won, by taking away her knight, her hero, the man who would always protect her and make her feel safe and secure.

We did not deserve this. What Mr Williams has done to me and my children is unforgivable. He has stolen my children’s father away from them, at an age when they needed him most, his guidance, love and support. 

He has not only taken away Dave’s life, but he’s destroyed mine and my two beautiful, innocent seven and three- year-old children’s lives too.

Hate is a strong word. Never in my entire life have I ever hated someone. Until now.