Tuesday 21 October 2014

Tearful tributes as attack victim Jay laid to rest

Published 01/04/2014 | 07:39

Farewell: Jason Saunders' coffin is carried from the church in Cabra

FAMILY and friends of a young man who was beaten to death hours after he celebrated St Patrick's Day bade an emotional farewell to him at his funeral Mass.

Jason ‘Jay' Saunders (21) died at around 7.30am on March 18 after he was attacked following a party the previous night.

Gardai were alerted when he was found on the ground outside a shop at Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra, Dublin, after leaving the party in a nearby flat.

The victim, who had trauma to his upper body area and had serious head injuries, was still alive at that point and was taken to the Mater Hospital where he was pronounced dead soon after arrival.

There were emotional scenes as hundreds of mourners gathered at the Church of the Most Precious Blood in Cabra for his funeral Mass.

Shortly before, relatives and friends comforted each other as his coffin was carried the short distance from his family home, across the street from the church.

A number of cars had “RIP Jay” stickers on them. 

Mourners were told how Mr Saunders “very much” liked to celebrate and how happy he was at his recent 21st birthday.

“They got extra-strong hugs from him,” parish priest Fr Neil Dargan said of Mr Saunders’ family.

A number of gifts were offered, representing some of Mr Saunders' interests and pastimes – a PlayStation, a Manchester United jersey and his sunglasses.

The chief mourners were his mother Geraldine, brothers Darren, Glen and David, sister Lisa and nieces Libby and Ella-Rose.

The family had assembled photos taken throughout his life, which were placed at the top of the altar. In one, he was holding his niece, and Fr Dargan remarked how happy he looked welcoming a new member of the family.

“He lived a very full and generously shared life with so many people,” the priest said.

He also mentioned comments and tributes that had been posted on Facebook.

Fr Dargan pointed out one in particular, in which the young man had helped an elderly neighbour across the road and bent down so as to listen to her speak.

“Jay accompanied her and Jay went right down to be with her, to talk to her. Jay, I'm told, is a great talker, but Peggy is a great talker, so Jay listened,” he said.

“He made sure that she crossed the road safely and got home. You know, it's a little thing, but somebody saw it. It meant something.”

Following the funeral, Mr Saunders’ remains were taken for burial to Glasnevin Cemetery

A 22-year-old man has been charged in connection with Mr Saunders’ death.

Paul Brannigan allegedly asked witnesses to destroy CCTV evidence and claims he was acting in self-defence.

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