A north Belfast man who was handed an eight-year sentence for killing his friend in a ‘joyriding’ incident in 2006 was back in court yesterday after he was caught behind the wheel of a car.
Mark Page – who was banned from driving for 15 years and will be disqualified from driving until 2023 – was caught driving a car in Belfast last October.
Page, 27, from Westland Drive in Belfast, was banned from driving and sent to jail in November 2008 on a string of motoring offences including causing death by dangerous driving.
He killed his friend when he crashed a hijacked car into a police Land Rover following a police chase across the north of the city.
Page was described in Belfast Crown Court as having a “delusional disorder”.
A prosecutor said that on October 11 last year, Page was seen driving a green Bora in the Oldpark Road area of Belfast.
The car was seen outside the home of his partner, with officers requesting their CCTV operatives to “keep an eye on the vehicle”.
When the car was driven away from the house, police were alerted of its location. When the vehicle was stopped by police, Page tried to reverse the car, but was blocked by a police vehicle.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to two offences arising from the incident – namely driving whilst disqualified and driving with no insurance.
Revealing that Page has 16 previous convictions for motoring offences, the prosecutor said the most serious of these offences was a charge of causing death by dangerous driving following an incident in July 2006.
Page’s defence barrister Richard McConkey said his client suffered from significant mental health issues.
Saying Page had “accepted his culpability in respect of these offences”, Mr McConkey also said last October’s incident was the first time his client had offended since his release from custody.
Judge Stephen Fowler QC said that while he accepted Page had stayed out of trouble since his release, it was “clear that he chose to drive on this occasion”.
Making Page the subject of a three-year Probation Order, Judge Fowler said: “He needs significant mental health support. He needs to engage with the community mental health team and he needs to engage with the community psychiatrict nurse.
“This is a man with difficulties, and he requires these difficulties to be addressed.”
Before releasing Page, the judge told him to participate in any programmes and work recommended by his probation officer.