Jailed Joyriders' Grave Record

Two car thieves with more than 150 convictions between them have each been jailed for two years - although that fate seems less dramatic than that of other so-called 'joyriders', several of whom have been killed.

While John McDaniel, 23, and Anthony Benson, 21 - who stole a car from Charles Hurst car dealers on Boucher Road, Belfast, after the keys were left in the ignition - were jailed, just a few months ago a 25-year-old man from the same part of Belfast as the other two thieves died when a stolen car crashed on the outskirts of west Belfast. He too had many previous convictions for car crime.

Antony Wilson died when the blue Honda Civic he was a passenger in careered off the Glenside Road after the police attempted to block the road, and the car made off.

A few minutes later another patrol car found the car crashed into a hedge on the Glenside Road. The passenger in the vehicle was dead.
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Yesterday, a court heard that the police used DNA evidence to link McDaniel, of Devenish Court and Benson, from St Peter's Place, to the Boucher Road car crime last August.

The two, who pleaded guilty, were also given two-year driving bans.

A prosecuting lawyer said, during the incident, the car, driven by Benson, almost collided with a car on the Boucher Road as it sped away.

The car also narrowly missed a woman wheeling a pram with her three-month old son inside as she crossed at a pedestrian crossing on the Lisburn Road, and was later spotted speeding up the Falls Road on the wrong side of the road.

The lawyer revealed that McDaniel has an 11 page criminal record including 34 theft and 26 road traffic offences, while Benson's record was seven pages long, containing 40 road traffic violations.

Handing down two-year jail terms and two-year driving bans to each of the men, the judge said they had "appalling" criminal records and that "the public really have to have some rest from your activities".


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