Family of teen who died in burning stolen car 'distraught' at scenes of disorder at funeral
The family of a teenager who died in a burning stolen car have said they are “distraught” at the scenes of disorder following his funeral.
A car circled at high speed at a roundabout in front of the Derry church where Requiem Mass had just taken place.
Caoimhin Cassidy (18) perished when the car he was a passenger in caught fire after it struck a lamp post in the Galliagh area of Derry.
Police continue to appeal to those who may have been with Mr Cassidy when he died to come forward — an appeal which has been echoed by his family.
Post-mortem results carried out on Mr Cassidy show he was not seriously injured in the crash but died after the car caught fire.
Shortly after his funeral cortege left St Mary’s Church in Creggan to go to the nearby City Cemetery, a silver car screeched around a roundabout, enraging mourners who had been at the Requiem Mass.
Video footage also emerged online of a fracas nearby.
Caoimhin’s great uncle Charlie ‘Nucker’ Tierney said on social media that the trouble was caused by “thugs” who showed “nothing but disrespect to Caoimhin and our family”.
Many of those who gathered at St Mary’s wore white T-shirts emblazoned with a photograph of Mr Cassidy along with the phrase “forever young”.
Parish priest Fr Joe Gormley, who celebrated Requiem Mass for the teenager, said people should not rush to condemn him and thanked those who tried to help him turn his life around.
Fr Gormley said: “As we gather here on this very sad day for our parish, on this very sad day for Caoimhin’s family, we declare that Caoimhin Cassidy is, was and always will be God’s son — God’s kid.
“Life in itself is hard but it becomes even more difficult when we forget that we are God’s kid.
“For all who really know Caoimhin Cassidy know that his young life was hard. To say that is not to absolve Caoimhin of any personal responsibility.
“Nor does it take away from the wrongness or the pain those actions caused himself and others.
“However, it does help all of us, who know that we have been given a better hand in life, to be less quick to rush to condemnation of him because of some of the destructive and wholly wrong actions that Caoimhin engaged in, actions that ultimately cost him his life.
“Those who engaged in such condemnation of him on social media are forgetting we are God’s children, called ultimately only to give an account for our own actions before God and not for anyone else.”
Fr Gormley spoke of Mr Cassidy’s early years and the support he received as he tried to turn away from anti-social behaviour.
He said: “His family knew how lovable he is most of all and no matter what he did.
"He knew how much he was loved by them and how their hearts are broken now.”