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

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

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.

Steel, 41, 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.

But on Tuesday he left HMP Sudbury in Derbyshire at around 1.15am and has not been seen since.

‘ A complete menace to the community’

Derbyshire Police said Steel is white, 6ft tall, clean shaven and with brown hair and green eyes. They appealed for anyone who thinks they may have seen him, or believes they know where he is, to contact them.

When Steel was sentenced for causing the death of Ms Stead, the sentencing judge at Newcastle Crown Court in January 2007 described him as “a thoroughly amoral individual with no regard for others….a complete menace to the community.”

She said it was “as bad a case of causing death by dangerous driving that it has ever been my misfortune to come across”.

The court heard that police said he had been “driving like a maniac”.

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