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Heartbroken Meli family's final farewell at funeral for murdered Christopher

By Claire McNeilly

Published 21/12/2015

Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's coffin leaves Requiem Mass in New Barnsley for burial. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's coffin leaves Requiem Mass in New Barnsley for burial. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Mother , Vanessa Burke during The funeral of west Belfast murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday, His remains left his Family home at Sliabh Dubh before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa, Christopher Snr and two brother lead his coffin as it leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Tragic: Christopher Meli with friend Ryan Morris
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Christoper Meli was murdered on grassland in the Twinbrook area (PSNI)
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli on Monday. His remains left his family home at Sliabh Dubh, Belfast, before Requiem Mass at the Church of the Annunciation in New Barnsley. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa looks on as his coffin is taken from the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa(right) is comforted as his coffin leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa and father Christopher Snr follow his coffin as it leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa looks on as his coffin is taken from the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's brother, mother Vanessa and father Christopher Snr follow his coffin as it leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa(right) is comforted as his coffin leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's brother, mother Vanessa and father Christopher Snr follow his coffin as it leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli from his family home in Sliabh Dubh View in west Belfast. The 20-year-old father of one died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December. Christopher Meli's mother Vanessa and father Christopher Snr follow his coffin as it leaves the family home. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Flowers left at the scene of the murder of Christopher Meli at Glasvey Close in west Belfast. Pic: Matt Bohill/Pacemaker.
Flowers left at the scene of the murder of Christopher Meli at Glasvey Close in west Belfast. Pic: Matt Bohill/Pacemaker.
Flowers left at the scene of the murder of Christopher Meli at Glasvey Close in west Belfast. Pic: Matt Bohill/Pacemaker.

The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli has taken place.

The 20-year-old was beaten to death on a pathway by a gang of around 20 people in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast.

A lone piper led the horse-drawn funeral hearse from the young father-of-one's home in Sliabh Dubh lane to the Church of the Annunciation.

Father Aidan Denny told mourners: "Nothing can prepare us for something like this."

New photographs emerged yesterday of Christopher, known to his friends as Cricky, taken just an hour before his murder last weekend.

Standing next to him in the images is Ryan Morris, who managed to escape the mob that beat his best friend to death and robbed him as he lay unconscious.

Last night, a Christmas memorial cruise - a cortege of cars organised his friends - took place for Christopher.

It left Sliabh Dubh Lane in west Belfast at 7pm before heading to Seacat and then Junction One.

A tribute by one of the organisers read: "Cricky, who has been at Seacat numerous times, was an extremely nice guy from my local area who had an interest in cars like the rest of us.

"Sadly, Christopher is no longer with us due to horrific circumstances.

Tragic: Christopher Meli with friend Ryan Morris
Tragic: Christopher Meli with friend Ryan Morris

"His passing has affected the whole community and therefore we'd like to make this cruise a night to remember."

Three teenagers have been charged with Christopher's murder, including 18-year-old Lee Smyth, who told police he was in an "altercation" with him.

The other murder accused are 18-year-old Stephen McCann, with an address at Bernagh Glen in west Belfast, and a 16-year-old who cannot be identified because of his age.

A total of 10 people have been arrested and questioned, including four girls aged 16 and 17, and a 17-year-old boy.

Christopher spent the final hours before his death drinking with Mr Morris, his older sister Sarah Morris and a third man Steven Woods (24).

His heartbroken father Chris paid tribute to his son who he said was loved by many.

He said: "If you look at the tributes on social media you can see what people thought of him.

"They didn't have a bad word to say about him. He was a quiet child."

 

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