Monday 19 February 2018

Tragic Melanie longed to be a bride, mourners told

The scene at St Dominic's Priory in north London yesterday as a horse-drawn carriage removes the coffin of Melanie
McCarthy McNamara from the church
The scene at St Dominic's Priory in north London yesterday as a horse-drawn carriage removes the coffin of Melanie McCarthy McNamara from the church

Shane Hickey in London

HE had hoped to walk down the aisle with her after they were married.

Instead, a devastated Christopher Moran walked behind the coffin of Melanie McCarthy McNamara as it was brought from the church following her funeral Mass yesterday.

Some 300 people filled St Dominic's Priory in north London yesterday morning to bid a final farewell to the 16-year-old who was shot dead in Tallaght, Co Dublin, last week. It is thought that her boyfriend was the intended target.

The church, situated between Hampstead and Camden, was where Melanie made her first holy communion and is close to Queen's Crescent, where she grew up before moving to Ireland.

Fr Peter Harries told the congregation how her parents and friends spoke of the teenager as being "full of life" -- a fact that was evident through the numerous pictures surrounding her pink coffin.

Pink was her favourite colour, and it was everywhere yesterday -- from the coffin to the flowers, to the shirts of many of the mourners, including her partner.


Walking up the aisle as a bride was what Melanie was looking forward to most, the congregation was told.

"She had longed to be a bride. She was full of life, and the photographs we see here today show how vibrant Melanie was," Fr Harries said.

However, her life was taken away in a manner that many would find difficult to handle, the priest said.

The majority of the congregation yesterday were Irish, with many from the Traveller community -- some who have settled in London, but many who travelled over for the funeral.

Melanie had lived in London, Limerick and Dublin during her short life but it was in the English capital where her parents Shaky and Melissa decided to bury her.

In a tribute read out from the altar by a friend of Melanie's, her father praised his daughter as "an amazing person" and urged her, in death, not to worry about her mother or any of the other children.

"You were the greatest love of all," her father wrote.

Many of those at the funeral, including her boyfriend, wore pink shirts and t-shirts, some of them printed with pictures of Melanie.

Her coffin was carried through the church by eight pall-bearers after a rendition of 'In the Arms of an Angel' was sung. There were emotional scenes outside the church as the elaborate coffin was loaded into a white carriage drawn by four horses. A pink Daimler car was behind and was used to carry some of the numerous floral tributes, while three separate white Daimlers carried members of the family from the church.

An open flat-bed truck, covered with more floral arrangements -- spelling out 'Our Barbie Doll', 'Niece' and 'Angel' -- led the funeral procession away from the church, followed by a large crowd.

There was a light police presence at the funeral, mainly to direct traffic when the procession left the church. There were no incidents outside and the funeral passed off quietly.

Melanie's killing has heightened fears of reprisals and there have been appeals for calm from both the gardai and representatives of the Traveller community.

Melanie died when a gunman opened fire with a shotgun as she was sitting in the back of a vehicle on February 7.

There were three other people in the car, one of whom was her boyfriend.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder and are currently being questioned by gardai.

Irish Independent

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