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Wednesday, 5 February, 2003, 15:04 GMT
Pc widow's 425,000 award
Pc Stephen Jones
A plaque was unveiled close to where Pc Jones died
The widow of a police officer who was killed trying to stop a car thief has been awarded 425,000 in damages.

Police constable Steve Jones died when he was hit by a stolen car driven by Gregor Masters, aged 16, on the M4 in May 1999.

The Bristol-based officer had just returned to traffic duties and was an outstanding policeman, his counsel Stephen Worthington told Deputy Judge Lord Carlile QC at the High Court in London on Wednesday.

Mr Worthington said the circumstances of the 34-year-old's death "could hardly be more appalling".

Accident scene
Mr Jones threw a stinger across a motorway lane
Masters, who had stolen the car from Melksham, Wiltshire, was heading home to Bedford with his girlfriend.

Police were alerted when he failed to pay at a petrol station and a high-speed chase began with Masters travelling at speeds of up to 115 mph.

Mr Jones anticipated Masters' journey and took a stinger device to the M4 intending to puncture the vehicle's tyres.

He threw the stinger across the outside lane of the motorway, which was down to two lanes, and returned to the hard shoulder.

But Masters - who approached at about 100 mph - swerved to the nearside and struck the officer.

Four years

Mr Worthington said: "Some inkling of his motivation may be gleaned from the fact that after his arrest Masters said `I love police chases. I can't get enough of them'."

Masters was later convicted of causing death by dangerous driving and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

Shirley Jones and daughter
Mrs Jones: "He was a wonderful father"
Under the terms of the Road Traffic Act, the damages will be paid by the insurers of the stolen car which Masters was driving.

Pc Jones' widow, Shirley, said: "The whole process has been an ordeal for me and my family.

"It was gratifying to hear the judge giving such a glowing testimonial to Steve for his work as a police officer.

"To us he was more than that, he was a wonderful father and husband and no amount of money can ever bring him back. Now it's time for us to get on and re-build our lives."

Unveiling a memorial close to the spot where Mr Jones died, in October 2001 Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "He was in many ways absolutely typical of the police officers who serve in the country, but also remarkable."


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