Two men charged on deaths of mother and son

 

A third man will be charged today in connection with the deaths of a woman and her schoolboy son, who were hit by a stolen car in Belfast at the weekend. Two men were charged yesterday.

The victims were Ms Dana Fitzpatrick (28) and her eight-year-old son Kevin, who lived at Manor Street in the city's Oldpark area. They were killed on Saturday night when a car ran into them on the Antrim Road.

Before the Magistrates Court were Mr Darren Fields (21), from Crewhill Way, Ardglass, Co Down, and Mr Desmond McFarlane (24), of no fixed abode but understood to come from the New Lodge area of Belfast.

Mr Fields was charged with causing the deaths of Ms Fitzpatrick and her son by driving dangerously. He was also charged with taking a car without the owner's permission and driving without insurance and without a licence.

Mr McFarlane, who was a passenger in the stolen car, was charged with taking it and having no insurance.

An RUC sergeant agreed with defence solicitor Mr Fergal MacElhatton that Mr Fields had voluntarily presented himself to police after learning of the tragic consequences of the accident.

Mr MacElhatton said both defendants had asked him to offer their sincere condolences to the Fitzpatrick family. "They wish to express their honest regret for the tragic consequences of the accident and will accept fully the consequences of their actions in due course," added Mr MacElhatton.

He said an application for bail was not being made at this stage and the defendants were remanded in custody until Thursday.

The bodies of Ms Fitzpatrick and her son will be brought from their north Belfast home to the Sacred Heart Church on the Oldpark Road this afternoon.

The funeral will take place at the Sacred Heart Church tomorrow morning after which the cortege will make its way to Carnmoney cemetery on the outskirts of north Belfast.

Local clergy have expressed their shock at the deaths. Father Hugh Kennedy, Father Jack Hutton and Father Patrick McCafferty, all priests of the Sacred Heart parish, expressed their "heartfelt sympathy" to Ms Fitzpatrick's husband, Kevin, and their other two children, Ann-Marie and James.

"The prayers and sympathy of the entire parish community are with all who are affected by this terrible tragedy," the three clergy said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a local Sinn Fein councillor has called on political parties, community justice groups and business people to tackle the social and economic causes of so-called "joyriding". Ms Cathy Stanton said the tragedy also highlighted the need for an acceptable police service to which nationalists would feel comfortable reporting "antisocial behaviour".

The Irish Republican Socialist Party condemned young people involved in car theft as "uncaring and callous" and called on local people to support a candlelight vigil at the scene of the tragedy to show there was "zero tolerance" for such behaviour within the community.