BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK: England
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Monday, 19 November, 2001, 21:22 GMT
WPC's killer jailed
Alison Armitage
Alison Armitage was dragged along by the stolen car
A car thief who ran over and killed a woman police constable was jailed for eight years on Monday.

Thomas Whaley, 19, of Abbeyhills Road, Oldham, Greater Manchester, denied the murder of 29-year-old PC Alison Armitage but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Ms Armitage died after being run over twice by the stolen car in the car park of a derelict pub in Oldham, in March.

Sentencing Whaley at Manchester Crown Court, Mr Justice Hunt told him he had taken the life of a "brave, conscientious and plainly absolutely outstanding 29-year-old officer".

'Sucked under car'

Earlier the court had heard how Ms Armitage had been working undercover with a colleague investigating the theft of a car.

As they arranged for the car to be removed, her colleague, PC Gary Lamont, heard Whaley return to the car and start the engine.

Ms Armitage was an "outstanding" officer
Prosecuting counsel Henry Globe QC told the court: "Constable Lamont remembers hearing a thud, then Armitage screaming at him from the rear of the Vectra."

He added: "He saw her being sucked under the moving car as the Vectra reversed over her.

"She disappeared from view and was dragged further up the road by the car.

"She was rolling and sliding with the car's movements."

When the car came to a stop, Whaley got out of the car and was arrested.

Guilty plea

Whaley pleaded guilty to manslaughter, one charge of the theft of the Vauxhall Vectra involved in Ms Armitage's death, aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified.

He denied the alternative charge of grievous bodily harm with intent to resist arrest.

Paul Worsley QC, defending, said: "Thomas Whaley appreciates that his actions have robbed the community of a brave, dedicated, talented officer and her family of a much loved daughter."

But he said his client, knowing that he had effectively been caught red-handed, had panicked.

'Life of crime'

Sentencing, Mr Justice Hunt said Whaley was a "young man of 19 years of age who has embarked on a life of crime, much of it with regard to motor vehicles."

Alison was a very popular colleague who had tremendous enthusiasm for life and for the job she loved

Deputy Chief Constable David McCrone
Outside court, Ms Armitage's mother Lilian said: "We have lost our lovely Alison, who loved the world, her family and the police force. She should still be here.

"We are totally devastated. Whatever sentence was passed would never have been enough - but we feel justice has been done."

Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police David McCrone added: "Alison Armitage was a young woman who committed herself to the police service and to working to protect and help the community.

"It was a job she loved and a job she devoted herself to with great energy and enthusiasm.

"Alison was a very popular colleague who had tremendous enthusiasm for life and for the job she loved.

"She is someone who is tragically missed by all who knew her."

Click here to go to Manchester
See also:

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories