Killer driver is back in jail after drink-fuelled ‘joyride’
A death driver with over 140 convictions who served less than half his sentence for mowing down a 15-year-old has been jailed for four-and-a-half years for new motoring offences.
In 2002 Henry Christopher Marley, originally from Colinward Street in Belfast, ploughed into a group of people in a stolen car on the Upper Springfield Road. Debbie McCombe was flung into the air and carried on the bonnet of the car some distance along the road. She later died of her injuries.
Marley was jailed for 12 years for killing the schoolgirl and stealing a car.
Yesterday he sat in the dock at Belfast Crown Court accused of six motoring offences including dangerous driving.
Speaking after he was jailed again yesterday, Debbie’s heartbroken mother said she was haunted by what had happened to her daughter.
“It just brings back that night,” Mrs McCombe said. “It’s like a big weight hitting you again on the chest. She’s there one minute and gone the next. If you hear about car crime it always brings those memories back to you.”
Mrs McCombe also said she thought Marley would reoffend.
“I thought it would happen again,” she said.
“I always knew deep down inside of me. He wasn’t one bit sorry for what he did to Debbie. In a way I’m glad he’s behind bars again.”
The court heard Marley and another man had bought a car on the morning of March 24 this year. They then began driving dangerously around the Antrim Road, hanging out of the vehicle and shouting abuse and obscenities at passing schoolgirls and other motorists.
A short time later they returned and parked the car outside the house where they had just bought it minutes before. The police were called and both were arrested. In the course of their actions the car lost its front nearside wheel and suffered damage to another wheel.
Marley, who has more than 140 other convictions, was drunk and refused to co-operate with the police. He had been released from prison on licence exactly a year earlier. His lawyer said Marley's actions had not been planned with any malice but had “been born out of idiocy and reckless risk taking”.
And he told Judge Geoffrey Miller: “He is the worst individual who can appear before your honour on driving offences.
“The simple fact that he returned to the scene of the purchase of the vehicle showed the lack of thinking involved. They went back to argue with the vendor and this was always going to lead to his arrest and detection.”
Jailing Marley for four-and-a-half years and imposing an 18-month probation order, Judge Miller said: “The court cannot lose sight of the fact that this escapade took place in a very busy area of Belfast around eight o' clock in the morning and while people were heading to work and children were going to school.
“They had a minimum amount of control of the vehicle and within a short period of time the vehicle had lost its front wheel.
“The consequences that could have followed from his actions could have well mirrored the actions of 2002.”