‘Maniac’ driver given life sentence for killing dinner lady absconds from prison

Alan Paul Steel left HMP Sudbury at around 1.15am on Tuesday, Derbyshire Police said.

31 May 2022

A “maniac” driver who was jailed for life for mowing down and killing a school dinner lady has absconded from an open prison.

Alan Paul Steel left HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire at around 1.15am on Tuesday, police said.

The 41-year-old had a string of driving convictions, including dangerous driving and driving while disqualified, before ploughing into 32-year-old Paula Stead in September 2006.

Woman killed by off-roader in police chase
Dinner lady Paula Stead, was killed by Alan Paul Steel in 2006 (Family handout/PA)

The killer also drove into her 11-year-old daughter Bridie and her cousin’s 10-year-old daughter Danica Green, who later had to have her right leg amputated below the knee.

Mrs Stead suffered horrific injuries and died shortly after being struck when Steel lost control of a 4X4 Jeep in St Luke’s Road, Sunderland.

She was carried along on the bonnet and windscreen of the car and and left to die in the road.

Commenting on the incident, the sentencing judge at Newcastle Crown Court in January 2007 said it was “as bad a case of causing death by dangerous driving that it has ever been my misfortune to come across”.

Alan Steel court case
Danica Green had to have her leg amputated after Steel ploughed into her (Northumbria Police/PA)

The court heard witnesses later told police he had been “driving like a maniac”.

Steel, previously of Sunderland, was handed an indefinite sentence for public protection after admitting causing death by dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and a string of related motoring offences.

The judge ordered he should serve a minimum of five years before being considered for parole.

At his sentencing hearing, the judge told him: “You are a thoroughly amoral individual with no regard for others.

“You are a complete menace to the community.”

Derbyshire Police said Steel is described as white, 6ft tall, clean shaven and with brown hair and green eyes.

The force have asked anyone who has seen Steel, or believes they know of his current location, to contact them.


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