BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: N Ireland  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 14 February, 2003, 13:19 GMT
Woman jailed for bicycle boy's death
The teenager's mangled bicycle after the incident
The teenager's mangled bicycle after the incident
A County Antrim mother of six has been sentenced to two years in prison for the manslaughter of a teenage boy.

Alison McKeown, 33, admitted killing 16-year-old Thomas McDonald by dangerous driving at the Whitewell Road in September 2001, but denied murdering him.

The Protestant youth was knocked from his bike by the Catholic woman's car when she chased him along a footpath after he had thrown a brick at her windscreen.

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

Circus

The incident followed rioting between rival loyalist and nationalist crowds at the Whitewell interface.

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.

Thomas McDonald Snr:
To me that's a circus in there... you murder someone and you do a year in jail and you're out - there's no justice there

Thomas McDonald Snr

"It was just a few moments of loss of self control for which she and her family have already paid a huge price," said defence counsel Jim Gallagher.

He said Mckeown "recognised the tragedy of the loss of this young man's life and what it represents to his family".

There was anger in court when the sentence was imposed on Friday.

Friends and relatives of the teenager shouted abuse at Mrs McKeown, describing what had happened in court as "a joke and a circus".

The boy's father, Thomas McDonald Snr, said: "To me that's a circus in there... you murder someone and you do a year in jail and you're out - there's no justice there."

McKeown will also serve three years probation.

Lord Justice McCollum said he had taken into account the fact that Mrs McKeown was unlikely to commit any other offences in the future.

He accepted what she had done was the reaction of an impulsive woman and her response had not been premeditated.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Shane Glynn:
"The judge accepted her action had been impulsive"
See also:

10 Jan 03 | N Ireland
09 Dec 02 | N Ireland
07 Sep 01 | N Ireland
Links to more N Ireland stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more N Ireland stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes