Belfast Telegraph

David Mills murder was 'an assault on God'

Funeral cleric tells of evil that cost former footballer his life

By Michelle Smyth

Respectful and peaceful silence blanketed the Co Down village of Seaforde yesterday as murder victim David Mills was laid to rest.

The 47-year-old former Irish League footballer was killed outside a takeaway restaurant in Ballynahinch last weekend after a night out.

More than a thousand mourners turned out to pay their respects to the Dundrum father-of-two at Loughinisland Parish Church.

Among the mourners were popular faces from the world of local sport.

Portadown FC manager Ronnie McFall was there to pay his respects to the former Shamrock Park stalwart.

Mr Mills played for the Ports when they won their first Irish League Championship in 1990, and was a member of the team when they lifted the league and cup double a year later.

He also managed Drumaness Mills Football Club and Cricket Club.

So packed was the church yesterday afternoon that hundreds spilled out of the building and stood in the rain among the many trees surrounding the picturesque place of worship.

Cars were parked for about a mile coming in and out of the village, which brought all through-traffic to a snail’s pace.

Officiating at the service, Rev Stuart Burns read out a tribute from the murdered man’s loved-ones describing him as a “larger than life character” and a “family man”.

“He was extremely proud of his children and will be greatly missed.

“His life was cut short in such a tragic way but it is the quality of his life that counts,” he said.

Rev Burns added that Mr Mills often found value and richness in “small things”. “We give thanks for his love and the example he showed as a family person.

“For the way he used his gifts and the friend he was,” Rev Buns continued.

He then read from the Book of Isaiah and offered up prayers for David's family.

Speaking about the way in which Mr Mills died, Rev Burns said: “An assault like this is also an assault on God.

“It is evil to set out to destroy the image of God.

“Evil is a strong word. I don't use it in a sensationalist way. Evil is opportunistic.

“However, the love of God is greater than any tragedy,” he added.

He also read out the prayer of St Francis of Assisi, saying it “reflected the way David lived his life as a peaceful man”.

Mr Mills was laid to rest in the cemetery at the rear of the church on the Newcastle Road.

A 30-year-old man appeared in court earlier this week charged with Mr Mills' murder and is due before the courts again later this month.

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