Mourners told to remember the amazing love shared by Portadown murder victims Michael and Marjorie Cawdery
The family of murdered pensioners Michael and Marjorie Cawdery said they are praying for the relatives of their alleged killer.
The Rev Gary Galway told scores of mourners at the funeral of the Portadown pensioners that he was astounded by the depths of empathy and compassion he had witnessed from the devastated loved ones.
The bodies of Michael and Marjorie, both 83, were discovered by their daughter and son-in-law at their house in Upper Ramone Park last month.
A 40-year-old man has appeared in court charged with their murders.
Thomas Scott McEntee, from Moorfield Court in Kilkeel, Co Down, is due to appear in court again on June 23.
Police said they had been killed in a "very brutal attack", with the couple reportedly stabbed to death.
Michael and Marjorie's funeral was held in Drumcree Parish Church, Portadown, with rain lashing mourners as they lined up for the service.
The ceremony began with a playing of Johann Pachelbel's Canon In D, popular at weddings. Rev Galway said it was one of the Cawderys' favourite pieces of music.
He added it was uplifting to play a composition usually reserved for weddings at the funeral as it represented the pensioners' love for each other which was what they should be remembered for. He added they were one of the most remarkably loving couples he had seen.
Rev Galway said: "I have spent a lot of time now with the Cawdery family and one of them said to me they were also praying for the relatives of Thomas McEntee, as they will also be going through a very dark time."
Marjorie was described as "incredibly soft-hearted, gentle and eccentric in the most aristocratic sense of the word" at the joint funeral for her and husband Michael.
Her "wonderful" smile was also dwelt on by relatives of the couple who gave eulogies in front of their coffins.
In his eulogy, Marjorie's nephew Colin Wilkins said: "She loved life and made everyone around her happy, with her positive sense of fun - she was always more interested in other people rather than herself.
"Nobody who knew Marjorie will ever forget how special she was - we will carry memories of her in our hearts forever."
Michael's brother Paddy Cawdery got a round of applause after his eulogy, during which he said his brother "possessed a bright and inquisitive mind".
He said he used it to benefit others through the medical and veterinary communities.
After a series of amusing stories about Michael's life of adventure in Africa and how he used to love taking things apart to see how they worked, he told how he fondly remembered taking trips on Michael and Marjorie's boat, named The Millennium Falcon after the spaceship in Star Wars.
The funeral was told the couple met working in Uganda and had spent a happy lifetime together. They married in Entebbe, a town on a peninsula in Lake Victoria in 1962, before moving to Northern Ireland.
Mr Cawdery said one of the most wonderful things about Marjorie was that she could cook, saying his brother's whole life was "lifted up" by his wife.
He also read a tribute by a man who spent hours communicating with Michael online about veterinary issues. Mr Cawdery said: "This man has never met my brother, yet he sent a message saying he came across as fiercely intelligent, a gentleman who still wanted to make a difference at the age of 83."
He added his brother had written 117 blogs on veterinary issues in the month before his death.
Mr Cawdery choked back tears as he read a poem about a man who wanted to be remembered as someone who loved his "fellow man", after saying his brother was one of the kindest and most intelligent men he had met.
The relatives who spoke at the funeral largely steered clear of mentioning the horrific circumstances of the Cawderys' deaths.
Rev Galway told mourners that no-one could dispute that a horrible act had been committed.
But he said they were there to celebrate the couple's lives and not the "unspeakable evil and wickedness" which took those lives away. He said people fondly remembered Marjorie for "driving like a maniac" and for being "old school in the best sense... with the best china out and scones with cream and jam put out for afternoon teas".
A family statement issued afterwards said: "We are pleased that so many people have contacted us to pay tribute to Michael, a man of enormous intellect and hands-on ability who never ceased learning, and Marjorie his devoted wife and partner for over 55 years. We remember her as a gentle, warm and humorous mother and grandmother."