Victims of `joy-riders' are buried in Belfast


Hundreds of mourners paid their last respects yesterday to the north Belfast mother and son killed when hit by a stolen car in the city on Saturday night. Ms Dana Fitzpatrick (28) and her eight-year-old son, Kevin Daniel, died when the car struck them as they crossed the Antrim Road in north Belfast.

Ms Fitzpatrick leaves a husband, Kevin, and two younger children, Anne-Marie and James. Addressing mourners in the packed Sacred Heart Chapel in the Oldpark area, Father Patrick McCafferty made an impassioned appeal to young people who were involved in stealing and recklessly driving cars to spare other families the grief inflicted on the Fitzpatricks.

"You may foolishly think you are engaged in a thrilling pursuit. The sad reality is you are engaged in the destruction of life," Father McCafferty said.

"Today it is the life of a mother and her child, the life of a family. We can only pray again this morning that the images of this funeral will finally get through to some of you who indulge in this wicked activity."

The community needed to be mindful of the distraught families of those engaged in "joyriding" and tackle the root causes of such activities, he insisted.

"The issue of car theft is a real problem for our society. As a community, at every level, we all need to meet around this issue of car theft, `joyriding', and apply every possible resource to the alleviation of this scourge."

After the Requiem Mass, Ms Fitzpatrick's husband, Kevin, helped carry her coffin from the church. His son's coffin, accompanied by a floral teddy-bear, was carried alongside.

The funeral cortege stopped at the scene of the tragedy, where Mr Fitzpatrick and his daughter, Anne-Marie, each laid a single red rose.

The procession then made its way to Carnmoney cemetery on the outskirts of north Belfast for burial.

On Monday night dozens of people had gathered for a candlelit vigil at the scene of the accident.

Three men have appeared in court on charges linked to the crash. They have been remanded in custody and will appear again at Belfast Magistrates' Court today.