Belfast Telegraph

Teen driver who killed friend and hurt nun was speeding at 100mph before car crash

By John Cassidy

A teenager who killed his friend and seriously injured a nun in a car crash was driving at speeds of up to 100mph, a court was told yesterday.

The juvenile, who cannot be named for legal reasons, previously pleaded guilty to a total of six charges, including causing the death of 18-year-old Conal Daly and causing grievous bodily injury to Sisters of Mercy nun Josephine McAleer.

The defendant, who turns 18 in August, also pleaded guilty to a charge of dangerous driving, two counts of assault on police and causing criminal damage to a PSNI vehicle.

The charges relate to a serious road traffic collision that happened on the Saintfield Road in Carryduff at 8.40pm on the evening of October 16, 2014.

Outlining the facts of the case at Downpatrick Crown Court, sitting in Newtownards, prosecution counsel Charles McCreanor QC said the defendant was the driver of a Jaguar car that was driven into Belfast along the Ormeau Road, coming in from the Saintfield Road in Carryduff.

The prosecutor explained that as the juvenile was driving at 70mph along the Saintfield Road towards the city, he had a "near-miss" with a BMW car.

The court heard that police were already on the look out for the Jaguar vehicle - and eventually approached it to speak to the driver at the roundabout at the junction of the Ravenhill Road and Ormeau Road.

Mr McCreanor said that as a police officer approached the car, the vehicle "reversed at speed'' and two other officers who were approaching had to "jump out of the way as they were in fear of their lives".

Judge Piers Grant heard that police followed the vehicle. Officers initially lost in the Forestside area, but it was spotted by another officer in the pursuit.

As the car rounded a bend on the wrong side of the Carryduff Road, it collided with a Volkswagen Polo being driven by Sister Josephine McAteer.

The 75-year-old nun was left seriously hurt as a result of the crash, sustaining multiple fractures and other injuries.

Mr Daly was a rear seat passenger in the car, and he was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the collision. Paramedics who arrived at the scene gave him urgent first aid, but he later died of multiple injuries.

Mr McCreanor told the court that the defendant's average speed over the space of the 3.4 miles from the roundabout in south Belfast to the crash scene was 72mph.

But he added that the juvenile's speed was "100mph at times'', even as he drove through zones with 30mph and 50mph speed limits.

Neil Rafferty QC, defending, said that his client suffered from ADHD, had just turned 16 at the time of the fatal crash and was involved with "serious drugs''.

"That is how he came to be driving around in this aimless way in what is ubiquitously called a run-around car at 16 years of age," he added.

"The people in the car were his friends. Conal Daly was his close friend.''

Mr Rafferty QC said that the defendant had no memory of the evening itself.

The barrister also claimed it was only recently, when his client was shown footage of the road crash, that it "started to fill in some of the gaps that existed in his memory''.

Remanding the juvenile back into custody, Judge Piers Grant said he would pass sentence next week.

Belfast Telegraph

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