The son of the late UFF killer Stevie ‘Top Gun’ McKeag has been jailed for 10 months for dangerous driving.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Stephen Daniel McKeag had hit speeds of up to 100mph as he tried to evade capture by police.
McKeag, 26, of Movilla Street, Newtownards, Co Down, had pleaded guilty to charges of dangerous driving and driving without insurance.
Judge Stephen Fowler QC said that in October last year, a PSNI Road Policing unit had set up a vehicle checkpoint on Corporation Street in Belfast at the junction with Dock Street and Garmoyle Street.
“At this time, a police officer saw the defendant in a BMW car. He approached him and he indicated for him to stop.
“The defendant revved the engine and drove around the police officer at speed. The police officer had to jump out of the way of the vehicle as it accelerated towards him.’’
The court was told that a unit of pursuit trained police officers then gave chase to McKeag’s fleeing BMW car which eventually stopped him in Francis Street, Newtownards.
Judge Fowler said: “I have had the opportunity to view the police dashcam footage of the pursuit and it makes very harrowing viewing.’’
The judge said that as McKeag drove through built-up areas in east Belfast in the middle of the afternoon, “plumes of black smoke’’ billowed out from the back of the car as he sped away.
The onboard PSNI camera showed McKeag had “jumped numerous red lights’’ as he tried to flee from police.
On one occasion, pedestrians had to “step back out of the way’’ on the pavement as McKeag mounted the footpath to get past cars stopped at the red traffic light.
“The driver was followed by a police car and in an effort to keep up with his car were travelling at speeds close to 100mph,’’ said Judge Fowler.
The court heard the BMW car was not only speeding through built-up areas, but was also speeding in 20mph zone where children played on the street and near to a children’s play park.
“When he was eventually stopped by police vehicles who had boxed him in, this defendant tried to make good his escape,’’ noted the judge.
Such was his dangerous driving at speeds between 90-100mph, said Judge Fowler, that McKeag had “put lives at real and significant risk’’.
A Probation Service report said McKeag told the author that he had “witnessed the murder of his father’’ at a young age.
However, his father, who was a member of Johnny Adair’s notorious UFF ‘C’ Company and was nicknamed ‘Top Gun’ over his involvement in numerous murderous attacks by the loyalist terror group, was not in fact murdered.
A post-mortem examination into his death on September 24, 2000, showed that the 30-year-old died as a result of an overdose of painkillers and cocaine.
Sentencing McKeag to 10 months in immediate custody, the judge also disqualified him from driving for a period of two-and-a-half years.
He also imposed a two-month concurrent sentence for driving with no insurance.