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Heartbroken Meli family's final farewell at funeral for murdered Christopher

By Claire McNeilly

The funeral of murder victim Christopher Meli has taken place.

The 20-year-old was beaten to death on a pathway by a gang of around 20 people in the Twinbrook area of west Belfast.

A lone piper led the horse-drawn funeral hearse from the young father-of-one's home in Sliabh Dubh lane to the Church of the Annunciation.

Father Aidan Denny told mourners: "Nothing can prepare us for something like this."

New photographs emerged yesterday of Christopher, known to his friends as Cricky, taken just an hour before his murder last weekend.

Standing next to him in the images is Ryan Morris, who managed to escape the mob that beat his best friend to death and robbed him as he lay unconscious.

Last night, a Christmas memorial cruise - a cortege of cars organised his friends - took place for Christopher.

It left Sliabh Dubh Lane in west Belfast at 7pm before heading to Seacat and then Junction One.

A tribute by one of the organisers read: "Cricky, who has been at Seacat numerous times, was an extremely nice guy from my local area who had an interest in cars like the rest of us.

"Sadly, Christopher is no longer with us due to horrific circumstances.

"His passing has affected the whole community and therefore we'd like to make this cruise a night to remember."

Three teenagers have been charged with Christopher's murder, including 18-year-old Lee Smyth, who told police he was in an "altercation" with him.

The other murder accused are 18-year-old Stephen McCann, with an address at Bernagh Glen in west Belfast, and a 16-year-old who cannot be identified because of his age.

A total of 10 people have been arrested and questioned, including four girls aged 16 and 17, and a 17-year-old boy.

Christopher spent the final hours before his death drinking with Mr Morris, his older sister Sarah Morris and a third man Steven Woods (24).

His heartbroken father Chris paid tribute to his son who he said was loved by many.

He said: "If you look at the tributes on social media you can see what people thought of him.

"They didn't have a bad word to say about him. He was a quiet child."


Belfast Telegraph


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