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Day of heartbreak as two tragic victims are buried

By Claire McNeilly and Linda McKee

Two Belfast communities stood shoulder-to-shoulder yesterday with heartbroken families who lost their loved ones in separate tragic incidents.

Mourners at the funeral of Harry Holland, the Belfast greengrocer who was stabbed to death last week, heard how his murder had "pierced the hearts of his family and community - and sent out a flood of revulsion, anger and disgust".

And the family and friends of 14-year-old Adele Whiteside, who was knocked down by a car and killed at the weekend, were told that her death had " torn the heart out of her family and of the community".

Hundreds gathered at St Matthias church on the Glen Road in west Belfast to pay their respects to Mr Holland (65) who was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver while attempting to prevent his van being stolen.

Monsignor Tom Toner, who was celebrating Requiem Mass, said his death had broken his wife and daughters' hearts.

"As the screwdriver pierced Harry's skull, a sword of sorrow, pain and anguish pierced the soul of Pauline and of Sarah and Grainne and Meabh and Gail.

"And the same sword plunged into the heart of Harry's mother, Violet, and his sisters and brothers and the whole family circle.

"And that sword plunged into the heart of our community, for there will be forever a gap in our lives and an empty space in Harry's fruit and veg shop."

Mgr Toner had a message for teenagers. "Have courage. Be strong. Don't be one of the low- life cowards, say no to the thugs. Everyone can be a decent human - and that is all the community asks of you."

He said the killing had raised "hard questions about, among other things, our young people, parental responsibility and the criminal justice system. And it raises questions about policing. We need more police and with more visibility on our streets."

Mr Holland was laid to rest at the City Cemetery. Three teenagers have been remanded in custody in connection with the killing.

Meanwhile, hundreds of mourners - many of them fellow pupils of Adele Whiteside at Dunmurry High School - gathered at the tiny Church of the Epiphany at Finaghy in Belfast. Others packed the church hall to say their farewells to Adele, who died after she was hit by a car as she made her way home from a family wedding on Saturday morning. School friends formed a guard of honour as the funeral cortege arrived and prayers were led by her sister, Alana.

In the address, Adele's uncle, David Close, told mourners she had the capacity to make anyone who was with her feel special.

"This has torn the heart out of her family and torn the heart out of this community," he said.

"She was precious to everyone - she was loved by everyone."

The Rev Garth Bunting prayed for Adele's family.

"We know that we are not going to see her again, we know we will miss her very much, but it's true we will not forget her. Adele's life on earth has ended, but she will spring back into life in Heaven."

Adele was laid to rest at Roselawn Cemetery. One man was arrested in connection with the accident and has been released on police bail.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph