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Last Updated: Monday, 18 September 2006, 13:34 GMT 14:34 UK
Carjack killer sentenced to life
Paul Wales
Paul Wales admitted knocking over and killing Ms Phinn
A man has been jailed for life after knocking down and killing a grandmother in a car stolen from her sister.

Pamela Phinn, 48, tried to push her two grandchildren away from the speeding car which was being followed by police in South Shields, Tyneside, on 11 May.

Paul Wales, 47, from Gorst Street in the Walton area of Liverpool, admitted causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

He will serve a minimum of four years and four months.

The Honda Civic came around a tight left-hand bend before hitting the family group on the pavement on Horsley Hill Road, throwing the grandmother 20ft into the air.

Crash scene

Mrs Phinn's daughter-in-law Kelly Laws, 28, and her two grandchildren, Dean, aged 18 months, and seven-month-old Mia, were also injured.

The car belonged to Mrs Phinn's sister Diane Dalton, also of South Shields, and had been stolen from around a mile away when Wales threatened her with a screwdriver, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Witnesses estimated his speed through South Shields town centre at up to 80mph.

Northumbria Police said Wales had fled "associates" in Liverpool and his mother had sent him to stay with a family friend in South Shields only two days before the crash.

Speaking after the sentencing on Monday, Det Ch Insp Tim Walker said: "It's difficult to explain the extraordinary coincidences that led to these tragic circumstances.

Public danger

"Obviously Mrs Dalton had her car hijacked by Wales possibly only a mile away from where her sister was ultimately killed, and it was a tragic set of circumstances."

The court heard that Wales was a life-long car thief and that after the incident he told officers: "I am sorry for what I have done. I'll pay for it with my own life if I have to."

Wales also admitted driving without insurance and driving not in accordance with his licence.

Judge John Milford QC told him: "You will be imprisoned indefinitely and you will be eligible for release when you have served the minimum term, but only when the parole board deem you safe."

Man remanded in road death case
13 May 06 |  England

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