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Tuesday, July 27, 1999 Published at 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK


Funeral call for end to joyriding

The funeral of crash victims Justin and Charmaine Watson

The funeral of a couple who died when their car was struck by a stolen vehicle has been held in Belfast.

Several hundred mourners at St Matthew's church on the Upper Shankill Road funeral of Charmaine and Justin Watson heard a minister describe the couple as 'two lovely young people.'

The Reverend Gregory Dunstan also called for a stop to joyriding.

He said the days since the crash in County Antrim on Friday 20 July had been ones of ''deep, deep anger" at the destruction of a family.

Accident waiting to happen

The couple's three year old son, Tyler was critically injured in the crash which happened near Ballybogey, as the family headed to their caravan in the seaside town of Portrush. Tyler is being treated at the Belfast hospital for sick children.

[ image: The dead couple's son Tyler Watson is critically ill]
The dead couple's son Tyler Watson is critically ill
Mr Dunstan said: "Every incident of a stolen car is an accident waiting to happen. We want to declare this must stop.

''But we must also ask the question: What is it that drives young people to do this? What produced this fatal addiction to cars and speed, crime and danger.''

He said it was an addiction ''which defied the efforts of anguished parents and the resources of the police and the community, and sometimes other brutal methods to prevent it''.

He said it was the family's deepest wish that no one else should have to suffer as they are suffering.

Community support

Mr Dunstan said the community had shown dedicated support and sympathy for the bereaved.

There was determination that the best should be done for the couple's orphaned son Tyler, three, and their daughter Connie, six, who was not in the car at the time of the crash. The funeral of Justin Watson, 24, and his wife Charmaine, 27, was held at the church where they were married four years ago.

Shops on the Shankill Road were closed during the service on Tuesday as a mark of respect.

A consultant at the Belfast Hospital for sick children, Paul Loan, has said there is a very good chance Tyler will recover well.

A passenger in the other car, Brian Donnelly from west Belfast, also died and two others remain seriously ill.

One man has been charged in connection with the crash.

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