Monday 16 September 2019

'It's just disgusting the lengths people will go to' - family of tragic dad killed in road crash criticise fake fundraiser

Tragedy: Darrey Keys, who was killed. Photo: Pacemaker
Tragedy: Darrey Keys, who was killed. Photo: Pacemaker

Claire Williamson

THE family of a tragic motorcyclist have told of their hurt after a fake fundraising page was set up by scammers following his death.

Darren Keys (34), from Ballyclare in Co Antrim, died following a crash at the Walderstown Road Races in Co Westmeath on Sunday.

He leaves behind his devastated wife Justine and their three young children Charlie (13), Molly (8) and five-year-old Harry.

Justine's cousin Victoria Gibson (37) told the Belfast Telegraph that Darren was their "idol" and "superhero".

She said that Justine and Darren were soulmates.

Darren, she added, had an incredible bond with his whole family - and would have done anything for them.

Victoria said Darren adored his wife and children with all his heart.

He loved watching Charlie play football, going to watch Molly at her Irish dancing competitions and playing motorbikes with Harry.

She said: "He was such a hands-on, doting dad, he would have done anything for them.

"And Justine, he just loved the bones of her.

"They had such a wonderful, happy marriage.

"And they were each other's soulmates and it's unbelievably sad that he was taken so early."

Victoria said Darren could not be summed up in one word, and said he was "completely unique".

"He was so many things to so many different people. He was a character, so fun-loving and full of life," she added.

"He was a true gentleman and would have done anything for anybody.

"He was so loved and liked, and so quick-witted and funny.

"He was just a personality and loved banter. He was just so loved by everybody."

The family are still in shock as they try to come to terms with his passing.

However, their grief was compounded when they learned scammers had set up a fake fundraising page in the wake of his death.

The scammers had even taken pictures from Justine's Facebook page and circulated it, with some people contributing in the belief that it was legit.

The PSNI is investigating the page which was set up on and has now been completely deleted.

In a statement Sergeant Whiteside said they had received a report of a fraudulent donation page online.

He said: "Our enquires are ongoing at this time."

Victoria said: "It's just disgusting, really, the lengths people will go to.

"They had taken Justine's profile picture of her and Darren and set it up that it was invites coming from Justine's Facebook messenger to people.

"It was just a link and didn't say anything and when you clicked it, it opened up a photo of Darren and Justine from a couple of years ago at a motorbike event and it said 'Darren Keys funeral fund'. You could only donate €40 or €90, and it was monthly or yearly."

It was brought to the family's attention through a local councillor and members of the racing community who flagged it up.

"I thought this isn't right, so then other family and friends that were at the house had started to get messages from Justine and she was like: 'What is going on'?," Victoria said.

The family are working to try and recover any money that was donated.

Victoria said: "I think Darren would have been so upset to have thought that people could take advantage of his friends and his family in that way."

The racing community have rallied around the family - as Victoria said, he passed away doing what he loved. She added: "Most racers would say it's an adrenaline rush like no other. He hadn't been doing it for very long, just a couple of years, and he loved motorbikes."

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Belfast Telegraph

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