Joyrider crash boy's organs to be donated

Last updated at 16:58 26 May 2006

The mother of an eight-year-old boy who was knocked down and killed in a park by alleged joyriders made the heart-rending decision to donate his organs for transplant, she said today.

Daniel Conroy Curtin was hit by a speeding stolen car as he played with friends near his home in Middlesbrough on May 16.

His mother, Clare Conroy, allowed him to be photographed as he lay on a ventilator in intensive care, believing he would get better.

But he died in intensive care at the James Cook University Hospital last night due to the severity of his head injuries.

Police have charged four people in connection with the incident.

In a statement, his mother said: "Daniel is gone but he will never be forgotten.

"His death has devastated our family but I am pleased that for others he has brought hope.

"Daniel was a caring little boy, he would never make people cry or leave you sad, his grin would brighten up any room.

"His death has been a terrible blow to everyone who knew him, but I know his spirit and love will live on in others who have benefited from his organs."

His heart, liver and kidneys have been donated and it was believed operations may already have taken place.

Ms Conroy released a new picture of her beaming son celebrating his seventh birthday with a Spiderman cake.

She said his cheeky smile was well-known around the Ayresome Road area where he lived with his mum and sister. His mother is estranged from his father, John.

She hoped his death would act as a warning to youngsters.

"Cars are not some play thing," she said.

"In the wrong hands, they can and do kill and I would urge all parents to think long and hard on that.

"Do they know what their children are up to at night?

"No-one should have to go through what our family has endured for the past nine days.

"We have sat by his bed and watched Daniel's fight for life

"Daniel has died but I hope his spirit and memory will live on and that some good can come from the tragic consequences that have engulfed our family."

Det Sgt Keith Dee, leading the investigation, said five youths who were in the stolen Rover Metro were arrested, and four were charged.

The 15-year-old believed to have been behind the wheel was originally charged with aggravated vehicle taking but Cleveland Police and the Crown Prosecution Service will now consider charging him with causing death by dangerous driving.

Three passengers, two aged 19 and a 15-year-old, were charged with being carried in the vehicle, while a 14-year-old was on police bail pending further inquiries.

Mr Dee added: "He was an absolutely lovely kid, well-loved by friends and family and he will be sadly missed.

"It is absolutely tragic.

"We have a young boy out playing on the field with friends and we have some youths in a stolen vehicle, showing off, driving at speed in a dangerous manner, and Daniel has been struck.

"His mother is devastated."

The tragedy has shocked staff and children at Ayresome Primary School, where Daniel was a pupil.

Margaret Toase, chair of the school governors, said: "The staff were informed this morning and we had some time for reflection and said a prayer.

"We then told the children and there was a lot of upset.

"They are coping with it as well as can be expected."

The road safety charity Brake said the case highlighted the need for stricter measures to combat so-called joy-riding.

Chief executive Mary Williams said: "We are deeply saddened by the death of Daniel and our thoughts are with his family.

"The heart-rending photo which Daniel's mum bravely allowed the media to use should act as a wake-up call to the government and enforcement agencies to stop, once and for all, deaths of children in such horrendous circumstances.

"Daniel's death is a stark reminder that a vehicle has the potential to cause horrific injuries and death, and to devastate families and communities."

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