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CAREER HOOD; Killed driver's list of crimes.

Byline: By KEVIN McDONNELL

THE victim of the joyrider death crash was a seasoned criminal, police sources have revealed.

He had a string of convictions for car crime and was notorious among his neighbours in West Belfast, and had been forced from his home on two occasions.

Stephen McDade, 17, died instantly when he was hurled head-first into a chain link fence.

Two other youths who were with McDade are fighting for life with critical injuries in the Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast.

Six other people suffered less serious injuries. It is understood a woman had been dragged a woman from her car in the Botanic area of Belfast, beaten and her keys taken.

The vehicle was then used to rob a petrol station in Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, less than an hour before it ploughed into six other cars when the driver lost control as they sped through Boucher Road industrial estate.

Last month McDade was forced to leave his McDonnell Street home after locals, who blamed for him for a rise in anti-social behaviour in the area, protested outside his house.

It was the second time he had been forced to leave his home in the last two years.

His devastated friends gathered outside his former home stunned at what had happened.

One tearful pal said: "He was no angel but no one deserves that. I can't believe he is gone. What a waste." For Stephen's girlfriend Lisa McGurk, it was the second time she has lost a loved one in shocking circumstances. Her step-father Danny McGurk was murdered by the Real IRA in August 2003 after he dared to speak out against a local terror godfather.

Lisa was still in shock last night and unable to comment on her loss.

Last night Sinn Fein councillor Fra McCann expressed his sympathy with the dead youth's said: "We have to make sure we have no more families left to mourn a loved one. Communities are doing their best to deal with the issue but the PSNI make no serious efforts."

PSNI Chief Inspector Peter Farrar, dismissed Mr McCann's claims.

He said: "We need to work more closely with communities and families in order to put an end to the problem."

CAPTION(S):

WRECK: Police seal off the scene on the Boucher Road, Belfast, after the hijacked car ended up on it's roof
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 28, 2005
Words:391
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