Mothers set up roadblocks where car killed boy, three: Police appeal for calm amid growing anger over joyriding as teenagers appear in court

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The Independent Online
ANGRY mothers set up roadblocks in their street yesterday demanding action against joyriders after a boy aged three was killed when a car mounted the kerb.

The women, who said the area had been plagued by the problem, sat on chairs stretched out across the road near the scene of the crash in which Kevin Downes died on Sunday.

Police and councillors appealed to the people of Huyton, near Liverpool, to keep calm after a 14-year-old local boy appeared in court charged with causing death by dangerous driving. There were angry scenes outside Huyton youth court where the boy and two other teenagers appeared, and the family of the 14-year-old were moved out of their home by police.

The two other boys, aged 15 and 16, were accused of aiding and abetting causing death by dangerous driving. All three were accused of the aggravated unauthorised taking of a car and driving with no licence or insurance.

The 14-year-old was further accused of failing to stop and report an accident and failing to give his name and address. Because of his age magistrates could only remand him on bail, with a condition that he lived at an address to be specified by social services.

The two older boys were remanded in custody after a social worker told the court no secure local authority accommodation was available for them.

The group outside the court followed the mother of one of the boys as she was leaving. One woman shouted 'You're dead'.

Anger first erupted outside the house of the 14-year-old within minutes of the accident, in which a car reversed around a corner, mounted the kerb and struck Kevin and 15-year-old Sandra Cairns, who was holding his hand and carrying her baby cousin, Charlotte Sweeney.

Charlotte escaped unhurt after landing in a bush, but Sandra suffered serious leg injuries. Her parents had to break the news to her that Kevin had died as she recovered at Whiston Hospital yesterday.

Mothers and children blockaded the end of Pennard Avenue, sitting on chairs and holding placards across the street near the scene of the accident.

Phyllis Nolan, 25, who saw the accident, said: 'It is very dangerous here. Sometimes there are cars screeching about at 2-3am, and it is local kids joyriding who are the problem.'

Nora Murphy feared for the safety of her nephews and nieces who visit her. 'If you can't walk down the street with your children where can you walk?' she said. 'You think you are safe on the kerb but round here you aren't. There is nowhere for children to play here, and you are living on your nerves all the time.'

Superintendent Colin Redfern said: 'This has caused much sorrow and anger in the community. On behalf of Merseyside police I extend my heartfelt sympathy to all those who now suffer as a result and ask for calm as the due process of justice continues.'

A man was being questioned in Smethwick, West Midlands, yesterday after Hafeez Mahmood, three, was killed by a van whose driver failed to stop.

Bristol police were hunting the driver of a car that killed Jeff Higgins, 52, in front of his wife, Dawn, as they walked home in Horfield.