Belfast Telegraph

Back in jail ... the death crash driver convicted of hit-and-run while still banned from roads

By Ashleigh McDonald and Chris Kilpatrick

A death driver previously jailed for killing a schoolgirl has been sent back to prison after being involved in a hit-and-run smash.

Henry Christopher Marley – whose address was given at HMP Maghaberry and who is formerly from Riverdale Park South in Belfast – will spend 15 months in custody and a further 15 months on supervised licence when he is released from prison for driving offences which were committed on March 3, 2013.

The offences were committed while Marley was disqualified from driving – a ban which was imposed when he was jailed for causing the death by dangerous driving of 15-year old Debbie McComb.

The teenager died after she was hit crossing the Springfield Road in March 2002 by a stolen car driven by Marley.

Following her death, Debbie's devastated family helped launch a charity for relatives of victims of car crime.

One of those involved in the charity – a close friend of Debbie's mother Mary – said Marley's reoffending was a "slap in the face" to the family.

Kevin Fitzpatrick's wife Dana (28) and eight-year-old son Kevin Jnr died when a stolen car crashed into them on Belfast's Antrim Road in 2000.

He was scathing in his criticism of Marley yesterday.

"All you can hope for is the ones who killed your loved ones will do their time then grow up and wise up," Mr Fitzpatrick of Families Bereaved Through Car Crime told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The only thing that can deter the likes of Marley is to lock him up for a long time.

"This guy isn't learning from his mistakes.

"He's a menace. It's a constant slap in the face to the family."

Belfast Crown Court yesterday heard that on March 3 last year, police responded to a road traffic collision in the Dermott Hill Road area of the city during which a car crashed into two parked vehicles.

Witnesses to the collision said that following the crash, the male driver ran from the scene.

Following inquiries, officers called at the address of the owner of the vehicle which crashed into the other cars, where they located Marley.

It emerged the car belonged to Marley's partner, who told police: "I didn't let him drive. He took it before I even noticed."

Marley pleaded guilty to several offences including driving while disqualified and aggravated vehicle-taking causing criminal damage.

Defence barrister Joe Brolly said his client had expressed remorse for the motoring offences he committed in 2002, which resulted in the death of the schoolgirl.

Telling the court his client had suffered from post-traumatic stress as a result of the fatal incident, Mr Brolly said Marley got behind the wheel of a car last March due to fears for his life following death threats.

Passing sentence, Judge Gordon Kerr QC spoke of Marley's "appalling driving-related record" but said that when he took the vehicle, Marley "may have felt threatened and tried to escape the threat".

Judge Kerr also banned Marley from driving for 10 years.

BACKGROUND

Henry 'Harry' Marley killed 15-year-old Debbie McComb in 2002 when she was struck by a stolen car he was driving on the Springfield Road in west Belfast. Debbie's death sparked public outrage and prompted the creation of Families Bereaved Through Car Crime, which campaigns for tougher sentences for car criminals. Marley was sentenced to nine years for causing Debbie's death and a further three for a series of robberies committed on the same day.

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