Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Manchester funeral for murdered Ulster woman

A lonely funeral for friendless murder victim

The funeral of an Ulster woman murdered in an English hospital - whose wish was to return to Northern Ireland - will take place in Manchester tomorrow.



Rosalind McManus was strangled on a mixed-sex ward of the Birch Hill Hospital in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, over three weeks ago, on August 13.

A man has been charged with her murder.

Despite repeated appeals by Manchester police following her death, no Ulster relatives of 58-year-old Rosalind, who was originally from Kilkeel, have come forward.

And although Newry-based undertaker Kieran Heaney offered to send his men to England to bring her body home, as well as organise a funeral Mass in Kilkeel followed by cremation at Roselawn Cemetery, the Pennine Care NHS Trust, which covers mental health services at Birch Hill hospital declined.

Instead, it has taken on the responsibility of organising her final send-off.

A spokesperson for the Trust told the Belfast Telegraph that Rosalind's funeral, which will take place at Rochdale Crematorium on Friday at 11.10am, was expected to be a very "low key" affair.

"Some of the people who cared for her on the hospital ward are going to say a few words," said Pam Upton, PA to the chief executive.

"She wasn't a particularly religious person and we're going to comply with her wishes for her funeral.

"It was recorded in her file that if she ever died she wanted to be cremated.

"There are no plans to scatter her ashes in Northern Ireland. That wasn't her wish."

Rosalind voluntarily admitted herself to the Birch Hill Hospital just eight weeks before she was killed.

At the time of her death she only had one friend - her faithful pet dog, Lucky.

According to her birth certificate, Rosalind was born at the former Kilkeel Hospital on July 14, 1948.

It is understood that she grew up in children's homes in Northern Ireland, before then moving on to England in her late teenage years.

It is known she suffered from mental illness and health problems.

The Belfast Telegraph recently revealed that Rosalind wrote a poignant letter to herself in 2004, saying that she knew nothing about her Ulster past but wanted to visit the province.

The letter stated: "I have had a really hard life. I know nothing of my background except what is on my birth certificate.

"I intend to go to Kilkeel in Northern Ireland and get a feeling for the place I was born. I may be able to meet a relative," she wrote.

Police do not believe that Rosalind visited Ulster before she died.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk