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Tuesday, 12 June, 2001, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Driver jailed for killing traffic Pc
Abandoned Vauxhall Astra
This Vauxhall Astra was abandoned close to the scene
A driver has been jailed for nine years after admitting the manslaughter of a traffic officer mown down while carrying out speed checks.

Wayne Rule, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Pc Jon Odell at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old, who was also disqualified from driving for 15 years, remained impassive, but said "thank you" when sentenced.

Pc Jon Odell
Pc Jon Odell: Died in hospital
The incident happened last December as Pc Odell, 30, was carrying out road safety checks with six other officers in Margate, Kent as part of a pre-Christmas clampdown.

Pc Odell, who lived in Margate, was dragged about 50 yards along the road and his hat, shoes, belt, baton and CS spray were strewn along the path of the car.

He was rushed to the town's Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital for emergency surgery, but died from "massive internal injuries".


A sea of flowers was left at the scene of the accident and at Margate police station.

Thousands of mourners lined the streets of the town centre during his funeral procession.

Wayne Rule who admitted killing Pc Jon Odell
Wayne Rule had many previous convictions
The court heard earlier that on the night Pc Odell was killed, driving conditions were clear and Pc Odell was wearing a white cap and yellow fluorescent jacket as he hailed the oncoming car.

Wendy Joseph QC, prosecuting, told Judge Andrew Patience that Rule was clocked at 52mph as he approached Pc Odell in a borrowed Astra in a 30mph zone.

She told the court that an expert had estimated the car had been travelling at between 48 and 50mph when it hit the officer.

"It's quite clear that if it was showing 52mph as Rule approached, it certainly didn't slow, or if so by hardly anything and there may have been increased speed," Ms Joseph said.

String of offences

The court was told Rule had a string of previous convictions dating back to 1992.

It seems that one moment we were decorating the Christmas tree and the next Jon had gone from our lives

Cathy Kidd
These included unlawfully taking a vehicle, drink driving, driving without licence or insurance, affray, assault, criminal damage, burglary, assault on police and abusive behaviour.

As well as community service, probation, fines, and imprisonment in a young offenders' institute, Rule had also been disqualified from driving for 18 months on a number of occasions and given a three-year ban on another.

Rule and his two passengers all saw the officer as they approached the stop point and Mr Rule said to them: "Shall I go for it?"

Both his passengers screamed at him to stop but he feared being sent to prison over Christmas as he was still under a driving ban imposed just two months earlier.

Shoes slipped

Rule attempted to swerve a couple of times to pass Pc Odell, but the officer moved in the same direction to make the car stop.

Ms Joseph said: "Colleagues shouted at Jon Odell to get out of the way and Pc Odell ran towards the south side of the road but it seemed his shoes may have slipped on the road."

Fellow officers at the scene did not hear brakes applied or see brake lights before the car struck the officer.

As Ms Joseph told the court details of the incident, Pc Odell's girlfriend Cathy Kidd, 40, who had lived with the officer and her 13-year-old son in Margate before he was killed, wiped away tears and was comforted by a friend.

Mobile left

After the hearing Ms Kidd said: "No prison sentence, however long, will bring Jon back.

"Jon will never come home from work and walk through the door. I will never hear his voice again."

She added: "Looking back to December it seems that one moment we were decorating the Christmas tree and the next Jon had gone from our lives."

After hitting Pc Odell, Rule dumped the car nearby but left his mobile phone and grey fleece jacket in the car and although unable to retrieve it was not recognised by officers at the scene.

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