Two locked up for airport killing

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The Independent Online

Two men who admitted killing a holidaymaker in a failed car-jacking attempt at an airport were today sentenced to seven-and-a-half years detention each.

Dean Taylor, 17, of no fixed abode, and Craig Abbott, 21, from Carley Walk, Speke, Merseyside, were given custodial sentences after they pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of father-of-three Michael Howard, 57, outside Liverpool's John Lennon airport.

They also admitted conspiracy to steal at Liverpool Crown Court along with a third man , Neil Dolan, 20, from Yeardon Walk, also in Speke, who was sentenced to four years detention.

Mr Howard, from Hesketh Bank, near Preston, Lancashire, was mown down and killed in front of his wife Elaine, 52, as he tried to stop his car being stolen on 6 January.

Mrs Howard said: "I would have liked to see the maximum the law could give for the crime. Anything under 10 years is not enough.

"I have accepted it was not murder, they did not intend to do it, but their actions have completely shattered my family.

"I would like to see them get their just deserts. I know it is going to affect their lives but they will get out and be able to get on with their lives.

"My children and I have got a life sentence."

Mr Howard was unloading luggage from the boot of his Volvo estate outside the airport when Taylor jumped from the Rover 216 he was travelling in and into the Howards' car.

The court heard that Mr Howard stepped in front of the vehicle in an attempt to stop his car being stolen.

Abbott drove the Rover forward, pinning Mr Howard between the two cars and forcing him to fall to the ground.

Charles Chruszcz QC, prosecuting, said: "Taylor drove further forward despite Mr Howard having fallen to the ground. The wheels of the Volvo passed over his legs and his body was dragged under the vehicle.

"Mr Howard was a well-built man and he became pinned under the engine of the Volvo."

The court heard the weight of the vehicle crushed Mr Howard to death.

In the panic, Taylor leapt out of the Howards' car and into the maroon Rover, which was driven away by Abbott. Dolan was a back seat passenger.

Police immediately launched a manhunt as the victim's family appealed to the public to help catch the killers.

Taylor and Dolan handed themselves in to the police the day after the incident but refused to answer any questions. Abbott was arrested on January 8 and immediately admitted his involvement in the crime.

The three defendants had a string of convictions for numerous crimes between them, including car theft and burglary, the court heard.

Taylor was on bail for burglary when the events of January 6 unfolded.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Hughes said: "You, Taylor and Abbott, did cause his death. You, Abbott, said to the police afterwards that if it had been your grandfather, you would have killed the people responsible.

"You have both since come to realise that no sentence could undo the loss you have caused.

"I have read expressions of the loss you have caused and inevitably it is extremely painful to read.

"No sentence can - nor should it - try to put a price on life. Life is beyond price."

Mr Howard's family showed no emotion as the sentences were read out.

As Dean Taylor was led down to the cells, he shouted abuse at the judge, saying: "Stick your seven-and-a-half years up your arse."