Belfast 'crucifixion' victim had stolen 200 cars
Published 10/11/2002 | 00:00
'Crucifixion' victim Harry McCartan had stolen more than 200 cars in a crime-spree spanning four years.
The 23-year-old is still in hospital after being nailed to a fence on the loyalist Seymour Hill estate in Dunmurry, last weekend.
Doctors at the Royal Victoria Hospital only removed bandages from his hands, on Friday.
His distraught father - also called Harry - said the sight of his son's hands were a "terrible shock for everyone".
The Poleglass family have been at his bedside since the brutal attack, in which he also suffered a broken leg, puncture wounds and severe bruising.
But, for the first time, Mr McCartan, snr talked about his family's torment living with a joyrider son.
Their attempts to stop him stealing cars, and their constant fear that he would end up dead.
Harry, who had recently served a jail term for car crime, started stealing cars nearly four years ago, says his heartbroken father.
Mr McCartan admits that he wouldn't be able to put a figure on the number of cars stolen during his joyriding sprees.
"I just don't know, how many," he said.
"He started stealing cars about three or four years ago.
"We were always very worried about him. Sometimes we wouldn't see him for a couple of days at a time.
"We were just waiting for a rap at the door or expected to see something about him on the news."
When asked if this horrific attack would end Harry's addiction to joyriding, his father replied: "I think this will put a stop to it.
"If he doesn't stop he will end up lying somewhere with his throat cut."
Mr McCartan said everyone in the family had tried to stop Harry thieving.
"We have all tried talking to him but he gets head strong."
Mr McCartan hopes his son will make a full recovery and "get his head together", when he is released from hospital next week.
However, his family insist that Harry was not in the Seymour estate on the night of the attack, to steal cars.
Meanwhile, residents in Seymour Hill took to the streets yesterday afternoon for a peaceful protest over car crime in the area.
They are calling for police patrols to be stepped up and speed ramps to be introduced, to help stop joyriders.
Assistant Chief Constable Alan McQuillan pledged last week to review car crime in south Belfast.