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ROSS, 9, MOWED DOWN ON JOYRIDERS' ESTATE; Police quiz 2 youths over hit-run death.

Byline: FIONA CUMMINS and SARA NUWAR

A BOY aged nine was mown down and killed by hit-and-run joyriders on a notorious housing estate.

Ross Doyle was left dying at the roadside after a stolen red Vauxhall Astra veered out of control and mounted the pavement. The occupants abandoned the wreck and fled.

Last night police were questioning two 17-year-old youths about the tragedy on the Blackbird Leys estate at Oxford.

Ross's parents, factory worker Michael and teacher Cheryl, were too distressed to talk about their son's death.

They were being comforted by family members at their home in Oxford.

Ross played in goal for a Blackbird Leys team.

Jackie Lindsey, 29, mother of one of his team-mates, said last night: "We have always had problems with joyriders around here. I live in a little cul-de-sac and they even come in there while the children are playing, do a wheelspin and screech off again."

Ross was run down after going out to play with friends on Wednesday night.

The dying youngster was found by a Stagecoach bus driver who dialled 999.

The trained first-aider gave the boy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and heart massage until paramedics arrived.

But he was found to be dead soon after an ambulance got him to hospital.

A cousin said the family learned of the tragedy in a phone call from police after reporting Ross missing.

The cousin added: "His Christmas presents were already wrapped up and under the tree."

Yesterday, Ross's parents and their three other children left a white bunch of carnations at the roadside, with a message: "Our baby Ross. They may have taken your life away but you will be in our hearts and thoughts now and forever. Lots of love and kisses, Mum and Dad, Naomi, Kylie and Ricky."

Underneath it lay a blue teddy bear and a mud-stained football - two of Ross's favourite possessions.

Neighbour Fred Erdbeer, 69, said: "Ross was a lovely lad who enjoyed his football and was polite and friendly.

"The whole family turned up on my doorstep to welcome me when I moved in three years ago.

"They are smashing people and Ross was a cheeky little lad who will be sorely missed."

Ross's headteacher at John Fisher Primary broke the sad news to his classmates at morning assembly.

Jo Milham said: "The school is shocked and distressed at what has happened and our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.

"Ross was a very happy little boy, who was enthusiastic about school and enthusiastic about life."

Ross's football mates met last night to sign his goalie shirt in tribute.

Team manager Tracey Guschtscha said: "Ross was a fantastic boy who will be sorely missed.

"He has been with the team for three years and all the boys are extremely upset. We are all in shock.

"Ross was even man of the match for the last game."

Superintendent John Carr said two youths were being questioned at Oxford police station.

He appealed for witnesses to come forward, and added: "The family have our heartfelt sympathies at this very difficult time."

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TRAGEDY: Ross Doyle - above, the abandoned car
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 15, 2000
Words:523
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