Belfast Telegraph

Cardinal condemns Evans's killers

The killers of a man kidnapped and murdered 30 years ago were "playing God" with other people's lives, the head of the Catholic church in Ireland has said.

They took it upon themselves to play judge, jury and executioner of Gerry Evans in an act of appalling wickedness, Cardinal Sean Brady added. The perpetrators are believed to have been the IRA.

A Funeral Mass has been held for Mr Evans, 24, from Crossmaglen, south Armagh, who went missing in March 1979 while hitchhiking. He was one of the so-called Disappeared who are suspected of having been abducted and their bodies disposed of by republicans during the conflict. His remains were found in October.

Cardinal Brady said: "Certain people took upon themselves to play God with regard to the life of Gerry Evans. They took upon themselves to be judge and jury, executioner and undertaker. What arrogance. What appalling wickedness."

His body was found on October 15 in Co Louth just over the border in the Irish Republic, 31 years after he vanished after hitch-hiking in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, in the Republic.

The remains were discovered shortly after a commission established to hunt for remains said it was winding down its search after 16 months of painstaking excavation. They had unearthed an area the size of four football fields but found nothing.

The funeral took place in Crossmaglen's St Patrick's Church. He was buried just outside near another Disappeared, Charlie Armstrong, also believed abducted by republicans during the conflict.

The coffin was carried into the church by Mr Evans' brother Noel and followed by his mother Mary. Mr Evans told mourners he was grateful information had made it possible to locate his brother and said it was time to help the other families of the Disappeared.

Cardinal Brady, Archbishop of Armagh, said Mr Evans died before his time. "He died because someone or some group decided to take to themselves the right to destroy his life," he added.

A keen darts and snooker player, Mr Evans was described by his family as quiet yet funny. His mother said: "I couldn't have asked for a better son."

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