6 March 2003 Edition

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Vigil for teen death driver victim

Hundreds of people, many of them teenage friends of Ballymurphy teenager Debbie McComb, gathered at the junction of the Whiterock and Springfield Roads on Saturday 1 March for a candle light vigil in her memory. The 15-year-old had been mown down by death drivers a year before to the day.

Debbie's family led a one-minute's silence at the scene of the hit and run.

The vigil then turned to a silent parade, as the people filed through the narrow streets of Ballymurphy to Corpus Christi chapel for a commemorative mass.

The event, organised by the pressure group Families Bereaved Through Car Crime (FBTCC) was an emotional experience and it was clear from the faces of the McComb family that the pain of the night Debbie died is still deeply felt.

Acknowledging that pain, Tommy Holland of FBTCC said: "It has been a harrowing time for the family but this show of solidarity is a great support."

By coincidence, Debbie McComb's anniversary came in the week that the trial of 20-year-old Harry Marley from Colinward Street in Belfast began. Marley is accused of driving the stolen Vauxhall Corsa that ploughed into Debbie last year as she crossed the Springfield Road and drove away.

The first day of the trial in Dungannon Court House, Wednesday 26 February, heard that when the Corsa struck Debbie, she flew through the air before landing on the bonnet of the car, which drove on. Witnesses described how the driver swerved from side to side as he attempted to dislodge Debbie from the car.

Marley, who admits stealing the Corsa in Newry earlier in the day, denies being in the car when it hit Debbie, saying he was visiting his girlfriend at the time. The trial is continuing.

An Phoblacht
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