Belfast Telegraph

UFF killer's son who tried to evade officers in high-speed chase is jailed for 10 months

Hitman: Stevie ‘Top Gun’ McKeag
Hitman: Stevie ‘Top Gun’ McKeag

By John Cassidy

The son of the late UDA killer Stevie 'Top Gun' McKeag has been jailed for 10 months for dangerous driving.

Belfast Crown Court heard that Stephen Daniel McKeag hit speeds of up to 100mph as he tried to evade capture by police.

McKeag (26), of Movilla Street, Newtownards, Co Down, had pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

Judge Stephen Fowler QC said in October last year, a PSNI road unit had set up a vehicle checkpoint on Corporation Street in Belfast at the junction with Dock Street and Garmoyle Street.

"At this time, a police officer saw the defendant in a BMW car. He approached him and he indicated for him to stop," he said.

"The defendant revved the engine and drove around the police officer at speed. The police officer had to jump out of the way of the vehicle as it accelerated towards him."

The court was told that officers then gave chase to McKeag's fleeing BMW which eventually stopped him in Francis Street, Newtownards.

Judge Fowler added: "I have had the opportunity to view the police dash cam footage of the pursuit and it makes very harrowing viewing."

The judge said that as McKeag drove through built up areas in east Belfast in the middle of the afternoon, "plumes of black smoke" billowed out from the back of the car as he sped away.

The onboard PSNI camera showed McKeag had "jumped numerous red lights" as he tried to flee from police.

Police CCTV footage showed that on one occasion, pedestrians had to "step back out of the way" on the pavement as McKeag mounted the footpath to get past cars stopped at the red traffic light.

"The driver was followed by a police car and in an effort to keep up with his car were travelling at speeds close to 100mph," said Judge Fowler.

The court heard the BMW car was not only speeding through built up areas, but was also speeding in a 20mph zone where children played on the street and near to a play park.

At one point, McKeag approached the roundabout at Campbell College at a speed of around 90mph "disrupting" the work of an emergency vehicle which had it lights and sirens on.

"When he was eventually stopped by police vehicles who had boxed him in, this defendant tried to make good his escape," the judge noted.

He added: "All I can say is that this is the worst piece of driving I have had the misfortune to view from the CCTV in the police car."

Such was his dangerous driving at speeds between 90-100mph, said Judge Fowler, that McKeag had "put lives at real and significant risk".

A Probation Service report compiled for the hearing said McKeag told the author that he had "witnessed the murder of his father" Stevie McKeag at a young age.

However, his father was not in fact murdered.

A post-mortem examination into McKeag's death at his home in Florence Court off the Crumlin Road in north Belfast on September 24, 2000, showed that the 30-year-old died as a result of an overdose of painkillers and cocaine.

McKeag's father was a member of Johnny Adair's notorious UFF 'C' Company and was given the nickname 'Top Gun' over his involvement in numerous murderous attacks by the loyalist terror group.

The judge said that as result of his father's death, the defendant had suffered "from alcohol and drug abuse" along with depression.

He noted that the father-of-two also cared for his mother and recently had to give her medical assistance after she fell and hit her head at home.

However Judge Fowler added that in case of dangerous driving, the courts had to "reach proper and fair sentencing".

Sentencing McKeag to 10 months in immediate custody yesterday, he also disqualified him from driving for two-and-a-half years.

He also imposed a two-month concurrent sentence for driving with no insurance.

Belfast Telegraph

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