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Family's funeral plans unclear

By Brendan McDaid

Funderal arrangements for the tragic Omagh family wiped out by a horrific fire were today still not finalised, a week after their remains were removed from the scene.

Undertakers at Omagh and at Arthur McElhill's native Ederney, Enniskillen, today said they were on standby, but had no indication as yet when the bodies would be released.

Police launched a murder investigation after Mr McElhill (36), his partner Lorraine McGovern (34) and all five of their children perished in the blaze at their Lammy Close terraced home last Tuesday. Arthur McElhill is the only suspect in the murder investigation. Forensic detectives and fire officers combed through the remnants of the gutted home for two days before the bodies were finally removed on Thursday night.

Hundreds of tearful local people lined the street in silence as the bodies were taken away to a service conducted by local priest Monsignoir Joseph Donnelly.

Police have confirmed that the bodies of the couple and their children - Caroline (13), Sean (7), Bellina (4), Clodagh (1) and 10-month-old James - were formally identified at the Foster Green Hospital mortuary in Belfast.

The bodies of all seven, however, remain with the Coroner's Office as funeral arrangements have yet to be finalised.

Undertaker Jim Barnett, who has an office at Ederney, said today he had received no information as to when Mr McElhill's body would be released for burial. A second undertaker appointed to oversee the funerals, Omagh-based J Maguire, said: "We have not been told when the bodies will be released. Initially I thought it would be a few days, but we have no indication as yet when it will happen."

A book of condolences has been set up for 13-year-old Caroline at her Sacred Heart College school.

Belfast Telegraph


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