Teenage duo guilty over Belfast city centre hijack
Two teenagers from Belfast were found guilty of being part of a five-man gang that hijacked a car from a female motorist and her friend.
The women had been Christmas shopping in the city and were returning to their car parked at Dunbar Link on November 8, 2014 when they were approached by the group, who stole the red Volkswagen Polo.
The car crashed in the Falls area later, where it was found abandoned.
The two teens - Richard Jones and Ryan McCrea, both 19 - were arrested afterwards. The jury heard that while McCrea was linked to the vehicle forensically and was picked out in an ID parade, Jones confessed his involvement to police a year after the incident.
Jones later branded his confession as "lies". McCrea told the jury that on the night in question he was outside a shop in west Belfast when a male he knew pulled up in a red car.
McCrea said he got in, listened to music, had a smoke, then got out of the car.
The pair denied offences arising from the hijacking, and were tried by a jury at Belfast Crown Court last week. Yesterday the jury returned guilty verdicts.
McCrea, from Prospect Park, was found unanimously guilty of hijacking the Polo and aggravated vehicle taking causing damage.
Jones, from St Leonards Crescent, was found guilty by a majority of 11 to one of the same charges, and also of stealing £45 from one of the women.
Following the verdicts the pair were released on bail. They will be sentenced next month.