Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Monday, 18 September 2006 17:32 UK

Carjacker was life-long criminal

Paul Wales
Wales had been convicted for possession of crack cocaine

A carjacker who knocked down and killed a grandmother in a car stolen from her sister has been a criminal since he was 11 years old.

Paul Wales, 47, from Liverpool admitted killing Pamela Phinn as he fled police in a stolen car in South Shields, Tyneside, on 11 May.

On Friday, Newcastle Crown Court heard that drug addict Wales had eight driving convictions at the time.

Now sentenced to life in prison, he has never held a driving licence.

Wales' first criminal conviction was in 1970 and, by the day he killed Mrs Phinn, he had amassed four convictions for taking a vehicle without consent, three for driving while disqualified and one for reckless driving.

Scene of crash.  Photo: North News and Pictures
Mrs Phinn pushed her grandchildren out of the way of the car

At the time of the crash, he was also the subject of a community order for possessing crack cocaine.

Wales admitted causing death by dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, and other driving offences.

He was arrested at the scene of the crash, and told officers: "If I'd known the road I wouldn't have crashed.

"I am sorry for what I have done. I'll pay for it with my own life if I have to."

Paul Sloan QC, defending, agreed Wales was very sorry for what he had done.

Public protection

He said: "When I saw the defendant in prison last Friday, without any prompting, he told me he did not believe that there was any mitigation.

"He told me he deserved to be imprisoned, having destroyed a family. In reality the only mitigation offered is by his guilty plea."

The judge said he was imposing a sentence for public protection.

He told Wales he would only be released once a parole board could be convinced he was no longer a danger.



SEE ALSO
Man remanded in road death case
13 May 06 |  England

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