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Tributes are paid as Ballymena murder victim Matt Shirley is buried

By Nevin Farrell

Published 07/05/2015

The funeral of murder victim Matt Shirley takes place in Ballymena yesterday
The funeral of murder victim Matt Shirley takes place in Ballymena yesterday
Matt Shirley

Grief-stricken relatives of a Ballymena grandfather who was murdered wept as tributes were paid to him at his funeral.

Matt Shirley - known as Matha - was interred at Ballymena Cemetery following a service at nearby Stevenson's Funeral Home yesterday.

Hundreds of people paid their respects to the 69-year-old who was well-known in the town where he could often be seen taking one or both of his dogs for walks.

Rev Joseph Andrews, minister of Ballee Presbyterian Church, told mourners that although one of Matha's dogs - Laddie - became blind he still stuck faithfully to his master when out on the roads.

Mr Shirley lived alone in Ballymena's Harryville area.

His body was discovered in a flat around a mile away in the Drumtara estate on Tuesday, April 28. Three people, two men aged 41 and 49 years and a woman aged 47, were arrested and police said they were treating his death as murder. The trio was released on Friday and police said reports were to be sent to the Public Prosecution Service.

Rev Andrews told mourners: "The number of people present here today speaks very highly of how people thought of Matha."

Mr Shirley was married to Heather and had two sons, Paul and David, and one grandchild, Reuben.

Belfast Telegraph

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