Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Crash thug no stranger to cops

THE teenage 'joyrider' who died following a crash last week had a string of car crime convictions.

THE teenage 'joyrider' who died following a crash last week had a string of car crime convictions.

Stephen McDade, from Salisbury Avenue in north Belfast, was well-known to cops for previous offences.

The 17-year-old died after the car he was travelling in ploughed into six other vehicles on Boucher Road in south Belfast on Thursday.

Two other youths, named locally as second cousins from the Falls Road, Danny and Kevin Valliday, were also in the vehicle. They remain critically ill in hospital.

The car had been stolen earlier from a woman in Botanic Avenue, who had been dragged from her vehicle and beaten.

Last night police revealed that McDade, despite his age, was a notorious car criminal.

Only last month he was forced to leave his McDonnell Street home for the second time, after neighbours staged a protest.

His girlfriend, Lisa McGurk, has been devastated by his death.

Her stepfather, Danny McGurk, was killed by the Real IRA in August 2003.

The crash brought back harrowing memories for Kevin Fitzpatrick, whose wife Dana (28) and eight-year-old son, Kevin Daniel, were killed by so-called 'joyriders' in Belfast in December 2000.

Mr Fitzpatrick, an activist with the Families Bereaved Through Car Crime group, expressed sympathy for relatives of Mr McDade.

But he insisted: "I don't feel any sorrow for him. He knew the risk when he got into that stolen vehicle.

"He killed himself on this occasion, but it could easily have been somebody's brother, sister, mother or father.

"These people are playing a dangerous game. It's like Russian roulette, and, on this occasion, he happened to kill himself."

The PSNI have reissued an appeal for witnesses to the accident to come forward.

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