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David Phillips: PC killed by stolen vehicle 'didn't stand a chance'

PC David Phillips Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption PC David Phillips was a married father-of-two

A police officer struck and killed by a stolen car during a pursuit in Merseyside "didn't stand a chance", the force's chief constable has said.

PC David Phillips, 34, was hit by a pick-up vehicle that mounted a central reservation in Wallasey at 02:10 BST.

The married father-of-two had been trying to stop the vehicle, which was taken from an estate agents in Birkenhead.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Phillips died of internal injuries.

Merseyside Police has launched a murder investigation.

Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy paid tribute to Mr Phillips, who was married to Jen and the father of Abigail, seven, and Sophie, three.

He said: "This is an incredibly sad day for Merseyside Police. His daughters will have to grow up without their father. He didn't stand a chance."

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Media captionMerseyside police's Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy said it was an "incredibly sad day"

He also appealed for the perpetrators to "do the sensible thing, do the right thing and give yourselves up".

"If you don't, we will find you," he added.

"We've got no idea who has done this. We have an abandoned vehicle and at this moment we have nothing left."

'Very real dangers'

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was a tragic and awful case and his thoughts went out to Mr Phillips' friends and family.

He added: "There's no such thing as a safe day if you're a police officer."

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy's voice broke with emotion as she told a press conference: "It's a dark day when you lose one of our own and it's a painful reminder of the risks police officers face to keep us all safe."

Peter Singleton, chairman of Merseyside Police Federation, said PC Phillips' colleagues were "understandably devastated".

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Detectives released a still image of the Mitsubishi pick-up truck, which was stolen during a burglary in Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead on Monday morning
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Media captionTheresa May: "His death reminds us that the police every day put themselves in potential danger to keep us safe"

"He was one of the best and will always be missed," he said.

"His young children have been robbed of a father, his wife Jen deprived of a husband and his parents their son."

A statement from Merseyside Police said officers had earlier attended a burglary at the estate agents on Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead.

During the raid the offenders stole the red Mitsubishi pick-up vehicle, which was then pursued by officers.

PC Phillips was one of two neighbourhood patrol officers who made efforts to stop the car on the A5139 Dock Road, police said. He was pronounced dead after being taken to Wirral's Arrowe Park Hospital.

The officers had used a device known as a stop stick, which is thrown across the road and has spikes to burst vehicles' tyres.

Image caption Colleagues of PC Philips visited the scene to lay flowers

Detectives have been examining CCTV footage in a bid to identify the offenders.

A green tarpaulin was placed at the spot where Mr Phillips was struck as scenes of crime investigators examined the road.

Wallasey Road North, Corbyn Street and the estate agents in Woodchurch Road, Birkenhead, remain cordoned off as forensic examinations take place.

Diversions have been put in place at Wallasey Road North and Woodchurch Road.

Image caption Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy has appealed for the perpetrators to hand themselves in

The Mitsubishi was found abandoned in Corbyn Street, Wallasey.

Officers are urging witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.

PC Phillips' death comes less than a year since off-duty Merseyside PC Neil Doyle was killed in an attack on a Christmas night out in Liverpool in December.

He is the first on-duty Merseyside Police officer to have been killed in a criminal act since PC Raymond Davenport in 1981.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Several roads have been closed and officers are examining CCTV in the area

PC Davenport had been trying to stop a stolen car in Liverpool and was dragged along the road after reaching in through the driver's window.

Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, said: 'We absolutely condemn the murder of this neighbourhood patrol officer, killed during the course of their duties.

"As a council, we will do whatever we can to assist the police in their efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

"I would like to extend our sympathies to the family and friends of the officer, and of course colleagues, who will be feeling the loss of one of their own very deeply this morning."

Image caption Forensics officers are examining the scene
Image copyright PA
Image caption Diversions have been put in place around several roads
Image caption Police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward

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