Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Horrific experiences highlighted in harrowing film shows why scourge of joyriding must be eradicated from streets

Kevin Fitzpatrick
Kevin Fitzpatrick

Editor's Viewpoint

One of the biggest scourges in our society is joyriding which has caused so many deaths and so much misery.

In a welcome move, a group called Families Bereaved Through Car Crime has produced a film which shows the 'ripple effect' of joyriding on the victims and families of those who have suffered and are still bearing the scars.

Many of the stories are harrowing, including that of Bernadette Hall who witnessed her 15-year-old friend Debbie McComb being hit by a stolen car 17 years ago. That horrific experience still casts shadows over Bernadette's life.

Kevin Fitzpatrick, whose wife Dana and young son Kevin Jnr were killed by a stolen car, told film-makers that the ghastly incident would live with him for the rest of his life.

The so-called joyriders remain a blight on our society in more ways than one. Their very existence, together with other forms of car crime, provides a spurious excuse for paramilitaries not to disband.

They self-seekingly claim that they remain in business to deal with crime in their own areas, but the shooting and maiming of alleged offenders is a curious, indeed nonsensical, raison d'etre to try to uphold the rule of law.

This film on the victims of joyriding is harrowing, but there is a good chance that it will provide its own deterrent value in a society which already has become inured to suffering and distress.

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Certainly it is a cautionary experience to detail the appalling consequences of such anti-social behaviour and much credit is due to those people who have bared their souls in trying to protect others from experiencing similar pain and also to try to deter some of those who carry out such heinous crimes.

The term 'joyriding' is a huge misnomer for this kind of behaviour brings not joy, but misery, fear, suffering and death. It is an activity which the vast majority of people condemn and rightly so, even if they have no direct experience of such a nightmare.

However, the existence of the film may make more people think more deeply about what is at stake in order to help the authorities and the public to stamp out this evil in our midst.

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