Reformed joyrider Jordan Donaghy front drive to ward peers off car crime
A former teenage joyrider is fronting a national campaign to deter others from making the same potentially lethal mistake that he made.
Jordan Donaghy, from Belfast, was just 15 years old when he was caught by police in a stolen car. He claims he was handed the keys and "told to drive".
He pleaded guilty to driving a stolen vehicle, driving without a licence, and driving without insurance.
As it was his first offence, he was lucky to be dealt with outside the court system and was subject to a Diversionary Youth Conference instead, which meant he avoided a criminal record.
Now older and wiser, gym-worker Jordan (19) is studying for A-levels in ICT, PE, and Leisure Studies at De La Salle College, Belfast, and hopes to carve out a sport-related career.
For the past two years he has also been working alongside the charity, Fixers, which aims to help keep other youngsters on the right path by educating them on the dangers of bowing to peer pressure.
"I was young and stupid," Jordan from Broadway, west Belfast, said.
"At that age you just think it's a bit of craic but it's not, you don't realise that something so stupid can wreck your chances of many things to come in the future.
"I was lucky that I didn't get a criminal record because it would have stopped me from travelling, like getting into America, certain jobs, and it puts your car insurance up too.
"That one mistake can really cost you. It's serious and it shouldn't be happening. That one time could have been so much worse for me.
"I got off lightly because it was my first offence, but it was a big wake-up call. I felt like I really let myself down.
"Since then I have been sharing my story. I want youngsters to just say no to joyriding.
"Joyriding can ruin your life, not to mention the lives you can take on the road because you can't drive and could kill someone."
The chilling poster Jordan appears in is currently being used by Reducing Offending in Partnership and is being rolled out as an anti-joyriding initiative in schools and youth clubs across the region. He says the shame of getting caught and subsequently punished was enough to deter him from doing it again, and he hopes the message will sink in with other teenagers.