Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Carson funeral priest hits out over 'despicable' killing

By Staff Reporter

The family of a murder victim have had their lives "torn apart by darkness", mourners at his funeral heard.

Fr Brendan Smyth was speaking at Requiem Mass for Stephen Carson.

The 28-year-old was shot in the head at a house at Walmer Street in south Belfast on February 25.

He was shot through the bathroom door, where he had tried to hide from a gunman.

His funeral took place at Holy Trinity church in the west of the city on Saturday.

Some family members wore T-shirts printed with his photograph, while floral tributes read 'Brother', 'Son' and 'Fiancé'.

Fr Smyth told mourners at Requiem Mass that the family have had their lives "torn apart, with not light, but darkness surrounding them".

There was, the priest added, "an overwhelming sense of humanity's inability to learn from the past and the futility of such heinous and despicable acts".

Fr Smyth said Mr Carson's death had repercussions for Ryan and Logan, Stephen's sons; Naomi, Stephen's fiancé; Bernie and Paul, his parents; and Paul, Christopher, Samantha and Danielle, his brothers and sister.

"They most certainly did not need or deserve what has been thrust upon them, and yet that is what has happened," he said.

"As I have said many times here, there are so good and loving people here in Turf Lodge, many who inspire and embody the values espoused by Jesus, and they do so with a glad and loving heart - who have seen the streets of our parish run to overflowing with fun and laughter, with neighbourliness, with no one going in need."

Police believe Mr Carson was shot as part of a criminal feud.

The priest added: "Life is so cheap that it can be snuffed out in the blink of an eye or by the pulling of a trigger.

"There is no justification for treating life in such a way."

At the time of the shooting a detective said Mr Carson had been known to police, but had been trying to get his life together.

Detectives are also investigating a possible link to the murder of pizza delivery driver Kieran McManus in west Belfast almost three years ago. Mr McManus was shot at close range outside the pizza shop where he worked on Kennedy Way in April 2013.

Three men have since appeared in court charged in connection with Mr Carson's killing.

Cousins Michael Smith (37), from Ardmonagh Gardens, and David Smith (32), with an address at Monagh Drive, are jointly charged with his murder. There was uproar when they appeared in Belfast Magistrates Court last Tuesday after the defendants were accused of blowing kisses at their alleged victim's family.

A third man, Francis Gerard Smith (39) from Springfield Road, also faces charges in connection with the murder.

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