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Comic O'Kane praised by widower for standing up to 'idiots' in Belfast park on scramblers

Funnyman O'Kane challenges dirt bikers he had run-in with to charity boxing match

By Claire McNeilly

Published 15/09/2016

Jake O'Kane
Jake O'Kane
Valerie Armstrong

The widower of a woman who died after being struck by a scrambler motorbike has thanked Belfast comedian Jake O'Kane for confronting two men on dirt bikes in a public park.

O'Kane revealed that he was threatened by a "big boy" after he recorded "two idiots" riding "massive scramblers" at Cave Hill in north Belfast yesterday afternoon.

The 55-year-old funnyman said he erased the video footage after the pair protested that they had not seen signs banning their use in the area.

But the situation turned ugly when O'Kane referred to the recent scrambler crash that resulted in the death of a young mother-of-three.

Valerie Armstrong (35), from west Belfast, had been walking her dog beside the lake in Colin Glen Forest Park when she was knocked down by a dirt bike on July 19, sustaining devastating injuries.

The waitress died the following day in hospital surrounded by her family, leaving her husband of 11 years Seamus to bring up their son Dylan (10) and daughters - seven-year-old Lucy and Sophie-Belle (5) - alone.

O'Kane said that mentioning Mrs Armstrong's death "seemed to annoy the 'big boy' who told me it was just as well I'd deleted the recordings or 'someone would have ended up hurt'."

Documenting the altercation on Facebook, O'Kane wrote: "I don't take well to threats and pointed out his pathetic attempt at intimidation wasn't working.

"They both then screamed off on their bikes, showering me in a cloud of stones."

The north Belfast man said he didn't report the incident to the police because he couldn't "give an accurate description", and he has instead challenged the "hero" who threatened him to a charity boxing match.

"Why don't we pair up in one of the many blue collar boxing events now taking place," he suggested.

"You're half my age so I should be easy, and if you do beat me I'll shake your hand and all is forgiven.

"Let's work our difficulties out and make a few quid for charity."

Mr Armstrong, who lost his beloved wife almost two months ago, said that "people need to catch a grip of themselves", and he also revealed that he was confronted by two young men on mopeds in Colin Glen just weeks after Valerie was killed.

"Fair play, I am the husband of the woman (Valerie) that died in the accident you're referring to," he said on the social media site.

"I too had a run-in just three weeks after my wife's death with two young men in the very park that Valerie was killed in and I too recorded it on my phone; they weren't on scramblers but roadworthy mopeds.

"They both took off when they realised I was filming them.

"People need to catch a grip of themselves.

"Thank you Jake O'Kane for confronting them."

Mourners at her funeral were told how Valerie went out to walk her dog on a sunny summer evening "but did not return home alive" because "young people made choices to ride scramblers irresponsibly in public places".

Responding to O'Kane, Mr Armstrong's sister Cathy McCarry wrote: "The widower is my brother, his children my nephew and nieces, his wife was Valerie.

"If Valerie's death doesn't stop them riding these machines then nothing will."

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