A police officer and father of two young children was mown down and killed in Merseyside as he tried to stop a stolen pick-up truck which was being pursued after a burglary.
PC David Phillips “did not stand a chance” when the vehicle drove directly at him in Wallasey, his chief constable said.
Sir Jon Murphy admitted police had “no idea” who was responsible for the tragedy, but warned the culprits: “We will find you.”
PC Phillips was standing on a central reservation when the Mitsubishi mounted the kerb and hit him at speed before driving off. The stolen vehicle was found abandoned nearby a short time later, police said.
Sir Jon said the 34-year-old officer was with a young colleague who tried to stop the stolen vehicle using a stinger device to puncture its tyres.
“The Mitsubishi vehicle mounted the central reservation, drove directly at the officers down the central reservation and hit Constable Phillips. He did not stand a chance,” he said.
Sir Jon appealed for those responsible to do the “sensible thing”.
He admitted the evidence police have is the abandoned car and “nothing else”.
He emphasised the appeal for information, adding: “We have got no idea who has done this.”
PC Phillips was married and he and his wife, Jen, had two girls, Abigail, aged seven, and three-year-old Sophie. He joined Merseyside Police in 2006 and was “popular and held in high regard” by his colleagues.
Sir Jon said Pc Phillips is the first Merseyside Police officer to be killed on duty as a result of a criminal act since 1981 and paid tribute to the bravery of his officers.
“David’s death serves as a reminder of the risks that the men and women of this force and the other forces in the UK face, in serving the public. They come to work, day in day out, knowing the risks they all face.
“But their wives, their husbands, their loved ones and their families expect them to come home at the end of their watch.
“Sadly, David did not and his daughters will have to grow up without their father,” he said.
Merseyside police and crime commissioner Jane Kennedy’s voice broke with emotion as she spoke to dozens of TV crews, reporters and photographers at the press conference at the force HQ in Liverpool. She said: “Police officers are on the front line every single day protecting our communities.
“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: “He was one of the best and will always be missed.”