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Tuesday 25 July 2017

Slain Sarah 'created a place of happiness' for tragic tots

The funeral of Sarah Hines and her children Reece and Amy who were carried from St Patrick's Church, Tournafulla, Co Limerick, in the same coffin
The funeral of Sarah Hines and her children Reece and Amy who were carried from St Patrick's Church, Tournafulla, Co Limerick, in the same coffin

Barry Duggan in Tournafulla

A BABY girl's baptism candle, a little boy's Barney dinosaur toy and a mother's dress sat on top of the single coffin at the funeral of the three victims of last week's atrocity in Limerick.

Sarah Hines (25), her son Reece (3) and Amy (five months) are in a better place, Fr Willie O'Gorman told yesterday's funeral service in Tournafulla, Co Limerick as the family of the fourth victim of last week's fatal stabbings -- Alicia Brough (20) -- stood alongside the grieving Hines relatives.

On a freezing cold day, more than 300 people made their way to St Patrick's Church in the picturesque west Limerick village for the emotional service.

Mementos of the lives of the devoted mother and her two young children were at the front of the church.

Photographs of all three were placed on top of their coffin along with Amy's white baptism candle, Reece's toy dinosaur and their mother's red dress. A plaque with a poem called 'Little Angel' was placed near a crucifix and bible.

Bouquets of flowers were underneath the casket. A note attached to one bunch read: 'Goodbye little playmate Reece, Miss you, Clodagh'.

Tears

Sitting in front of her dead daughter and grandchildren was Sarah's devastated mother, Abina Ring along with her sons and extended family.

One of the first to offer their condolences to Abina and Sarah's step-father, Peter Rolfe, were the parents of Alicia Brough, Paul and Maria Dempsey, who travelled from Rockchapel, Co Cork. Alicia's mother brought a single red rose to the service while her daughter's boyfriend, John, stood nearby with Alicia's name shaved into his hair.

Sarah's natural father, Christopher Hines senior was also at the front of the church with his mother and sons. Many of the relatives had travelled from England and broke down on seeing the coffin.

Fr O'Gorman told the congregation: "We have been cast into darkness by the tragic deaths of Sarah and her children, Reece and Amy. We are gathered here today overshadowed by clouds of grief and loss, sadness and anger, confusion and pain.

"While living here (Sarah) was always noted to be quiet and pleasant, close to nature, walked a lot, loved her family, and above all -- Reece and Amy. She did all that was possible to rear them in the best way.

"In creating a place of happiness for her children in this life, Sarah was preparing herself and her children for eternal happiness, for paradise. But nobody ever imagined that it would be so soon," he said.

Seven children -- all relatives -- brought several teddy bears and a cake to the altar during the offertory procession.

With all standing in silence, candles for each victim of last week's fatal stabbings in Newcastle West were lit at the altar. The priest said "may they live radiant and forever young".

Noting the cake before him, Fr O'Gorman softly said, "Please God, Sarah and her two children are enjoying the cake in a better place together."

Poems were read by Sarah's godmother, Blue O'Rourke, her younger brother, Josh (14) and Peter Rolfe. Before beginning, Mr Rolfe thanked a relative, Ryan O'Rourke for writing the short poem.

He read: "Sarah was a friend, she left with years so few, left us not knowing what to do. Reece was our little man, left much younger than was planned. So many memories left with us here, a little man we loved so dear."

"Baby Amy, our special girl, a little life so short you touched all, a child so sweet and young, it feels as though your life had just begun."

"Now you move on into the light, out of this world and out of sight. Left behind, our memories so dear to all those who held you near. So goodbye and rest in peace, remembered by the family and friends you left behind."

A private cremation will be held today for Sarah, Reece and Amy Hines.

Irish Independent

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