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Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 06:25 GMT 07:25 UK


Special Report

Funeral of joyrider killed in crash

Brian Donnelly: His mother expected to hear of his death

The funeral of the front seat passenger in a stolen car which crashed on Friday killing three people on Friday is being held on Wednesday.

Brian Donnelly, 20, from west Belfast, died when the car hit another car near Ballybogey in County Antrim killing a Belfast couple Justin and Charmaine Watson and injuring their three year old son.

Mass for Brian Donnelly will be held at St Oliver Plunkett's church in Belfast.

'Death wish'

On Tuesday Brian Donnelly's mother told how she believed her son had a death wish.

Carmel Donnelly said the family had tried to stop Brian stealing cars. He had received threats and been beaten up by paramilitaries, but she said recently they had had no success in getting through to him.


Carmel Donnelly: I felt a strange sense of relief
She told Radio Ulster that when she first heard about the crash, she did not know that anyone else had been killed, and one of her feelings was of relief.

She said: "If Brian was going to be involved in an incident like what happened on Friday, I hoped I was going to be told he was dead and not some innocent person.

''Then when I heard that there were other people involved, a husband and wife and a young child, and another child an orphan, it was so hard to take in because Brian was dead, but there were two other people dead as well.

'I expected this day would come'

She said she always expected that one day she would hear that Brian had been killed.

Mrs Donnelly said: "I have waited for this day. He couldn't go on behaving the way he was behaving and something like this not happen.


[ image: Brian and two other people were killed in the crash]
Brian and two other people were killed in the crash
She said that the family had done all in their power to stop Brian getting further involved in crime, but they had failed.

She said: ''I got the feeling that he had actually sort of accepted this. About a year and a half ago when he was in Hydebank (Young Offenders Centre) and we visited him I got the feeling that he wasn't going to try any more.

"I don't know why if he was trying he didn't succeed, but over the last year and a half lately he wasn't even trying. It was as if he had a death wish."

Living with joyriding

She said the family tried to get help from different agencies, but that they could not control Brian.

She first became aware Brian was involved in crime five years ago, when he and friend were stopped by the police driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway.


Mrs Donnelly: I can't undertand what he did
She said: ''Even before he started stealing cars, we spoke to Parents Advice. We called in social workers, but we got nothing from them because we were told our son was an angel compared to the people that they dealt with.

''I could never even understand how he could write on someone's fence, let alone take their car. I can't believe it because it was not the way he was brought up.''

Mrs Donnelly said that although she hated what her son has done she still loves him.

''(Joyriders) disgust me, but I still love my son. I can't believe that I still love him because of what he has done. I have hated the things he has done,'' she said.

Two men have been charged in connection with the fatal crash.



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27 Jul 99 | UK
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