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Teen driver admits killing pal and injuring nun in police chase crash

By Paul Higgins

Published 19/05/2016

Scene: Site of the collision
Scene: Site of the collision

A teenager has pleaded guilty to killing his back-seat passenger and injuring an elderly nun by driving dangerously while he was being chased by police.

After the public gallery was cleared at Downpatrick Crown Court, defence QC Neil Rafferty asked for all charges to be put to the 17-year-old again.

Standing outside the dock flanked by prison officers with his mother and grandmother just a few feet away, the teenager, who cannot be identified because of his age, replied "guilty" to the six charges against him.

He confessed to causing the death of Conal Daly, an 18-year-old from north Belfast, and causing grievous bodily injury to Josephine McAteer, a 75-year-old nun, by driving dangerously on the Saintfield Road on October 16, 2014.

The teenager also pleaded guilty to driving dangerously on the Ormeau Road and Saintfield Road, two counts of assaulting police, and a final count of causing criminal damage to a PSNI vehicle. The charges arose after the Jaguar car the teenager was driving ploughed into the VW Polo being driven by Sisters of Mercy nun Josephine McAleer.

She is understood to have sustained two broken legs in the impact.

Mr Daly, a former pupil at Edmund Rice College and who was in the back seat of the Jaguar, was fatally injured.

Paramedics treated him at he scene and rushed him to the Royal Victoria Hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

It was reported at the time the PSNI had been in pursuit of the "runaround" Jaguar from the roundabout at the top of the Ormeau Road when the chase came to a fatal end just a few miles up the road.

In court yesterday Mr Rafferty said he would be giving a report on the defendant's mental health to the Probation Service to assist it with its report.

Remanding the teenager back into custody, Judge Piers Grant provisionally listed the sentencing hearing on June 24, depending on reports being ready.

He added that while it "may be academic", the killer driver was now automatically banned from driving.

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