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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 11:25 GMT
Woman guilty of bicycle boy's killing
The teenager's mangled bicycle after the incident
The teenager's mangled bicycle after the incident
A woman who ran down a teenager after he threw a brick at her car at a sectarian flashpoint in north Belfast has been convicted of his manslaughter.

Alison McKeown was found not guilty of the murder of 16-year-old Thomas McDonald at the Whitewell Road last September.

Thomas McDonald: Was knocked from his bike
Thomas McDonald: Was knocked from his bike
Ms McKeown, whose address cannot be reported by court order, was remanded in custody at Belfast Crown Court for sentencing at a later date.

The 33-year-old mother of six had admitted killing the schoolboy by dangerous driving, but denied murdering him.

Sectarian tensions were high at the time during the loyalist protest outside the Holy Cross Girls' primary school in another part of north Belfast.

The judge, Lord Justice McCollum, said he was convinced McKeown, who is a Catholic, had deliberately and consciously driven her car at the Protestant teenager to cause him very serious injury.

'Unprovoked assault'

But he did not believe she had intended to kill him and found her guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder.

The judge said Alison McKeown had lost control when the brick hit her car in what he described as a calculated and unprovoked assault by the teenager.

The boy was knocked from his bike by her car when she chased him along a footpath after he had thrown a brick at her windscreen.

McKeown's defence counsel had argued that although it had been a rash and dangerous act, it had been carried out in the heat of the moment.

There was uproar from the public gallery when supporters of the McDonald family shouted abuse at the judge when the verdict was announced.

McKeown showed no emotion as the judgement was read out.

Speaking outside the city's Crown Court, the boy's angry mother, Pauline McDonald, said: "I hope my son's face flashes in front of her and I hope she will never sleep another night's sleep in her life."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  BBC NI's Tara Mills:
"The teenager's parents were angered at the verdict"
  BBC NI's Tara Mills:
"She was found guilty of manslaughter but not murder"
See also:

09 Dec 02 | N Ireland
07 Sep 01 | N Ireland
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


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