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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Life for policeman's murder
Pc Raja Ahmed
Pc Raja Ahmed was also a part-time law student
A car thief has been jailed for life for murdering traffic police constable Raja Ahmed by ramming his motorbike 82 feet into the path of an articulated lorry.

Steven Draper, 28, of Salford, Greater Manchester, had denied murdering the constable last August but admitted causing his death by dangerous driving.

Draper, who had a lengthy record for car-related offences, fled the scene and tried to call a taxi as Pc Ahmed lay dying from his injuries.

Prosecutor Anthony Gee QC told court that Draper had killed the officer "as surely as if he had pushed him over the edge of a cliff or into the path of a passing train at a railway station".

Steven Draper
Steven Draper: Lengthy record for car-related offences
A jury of seven men and five women took 90 minutes to reach their unanimous guilty verdict at Manchester Crown Court.

Draper's girlfriend, Sandra Reynolds, wept in the public gallery as the verdict was read out.

Sentencing him, Justice Steel said: "You deliberately directed unlawful violence towards a police officer who was doing his public duty by stopping you to question you about a stolen vehicle".

She told him he would have to live with the consequences of his actions for the rest of his life.

He has been disqualified him from driving for 17 years and must sit a driving test on his release from prison.

Draper was in a stolen car last August with Ms Reynolds and her two daughters, aged 12 and eight.

Experienced officer

Anthony Gee QC said PC Ahmed was a part-time law student and an experienced police motorcyclist who halted Draper in Manchester's Miles Platting area for driving the stolen car.

Draper at that stage was already on probation for car theft and he reversed the car.

PC Ahmed sensed danger and drove his motorbike between two cars stopped at traffic lights on a road junction to protect himself.

Mr Gee told the court that Draper was so desperate to drive at the officer that he forced his way between those two cars before ramming the motorbike through the red light into oncoming traffic.

Draper had claimed he never meant to harm PC Ahmed and was only trying to escape.

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