Friend's coffee cup tribute to tragic Dean McIlwaine
One of Dean McIlwaine's closest friends left an unusual tribute yesterday to his pal outside the barber's shop he was planning to open in Newtownabbey.
David Rodgers placed a cup of Americano coffee at the salon on the Woodford Road off the Doagh Road, which is described on the sign above it as a 'gentleman's barber'.
David said: "It's just a wee personal thing between Dean and me."
David, who also laid a bunch of flowers, said Dean's friends were heartbroken by the discovery of the 22-year-old barber's body on Cavehill 10 days after he was last seen alive on July 13.
David and a group of searchers, including Dean's parents, were in the Monkstown area on Saturday to carry out a hunt for the missing Newtownabbey man after reports that he may have been seen here.
But shortly after they arrived, news filtered through that a body had been found at Cave Hill Country Park where the main search was centred.
David said: "I saw Dean's family breaking down after they took a phone call and it was obvious that something was wrong.
"I just froze.
"Dean's family and the rest of us made our way back to the country park to see if it was true that a body had been found.
"There was no formal identification, of course, but one of our friends who saw the body said it was definitely Dean."
There were distressing scenes at the park as friends and family tried to comfort each other as the news they had been dreading was confirmed.
Early yesterday, Dean's aunt Kim Malone posted a message on Facebook thanking people who had helped in the search for a "loving, talented, hard-working young man".
She also said that his family and girlfriend Demi Jo McMahon were devastated.
Scores of people paid tributes to Dean in response to his aunt's post which has been 'liked' more than 18,000 times.