Belfast Telegraph

Murder victim Frances Murray 'came alive around children', friend tells funeral

The funeral of Frances Murray took place at Sacred Heart Church, Oldpark Road in Belfast
The funeral of Frances Murray took place at Sacred Heart Church, Oldpark Road in Belfast
Mark Bain

By Mark Bain

Several hundred mourners packed into Sacred Heart Church on Oldpark Road for the funeral of north Belfast murder victim Frances Murray.

The 37-year-old died alongside Joseph Dutton (47) at a flat at Kinnaird Close off the Antrim Road on Monday, December 23.

The pair are believed to have been stabbed to death.

A 35-year-old man has been charged with their murder. A court heard last Thursday that the accused, Steven Arthur Andre McBrine (35), had made "full admissions" to police.

Those gathered yesterday heard long-time family friend Deacon Joseph Baxter remember the good times before Frances' battle with addiction as she struggled with her demons.

He also had words of sympathy for the family of Joseph Dutton and asked a community still in shock over the deaths to find forgiveness for their killer.

"It is important today to remember two families have been affected by this tragedy. We remember also Joseph who died alongside Frances," he said.

"We say the words in the Lord's Prayer 'forgive us our trespasses'. We know these words mean little if we are not willing to forgive others. We ask for the grace to forgive the person who assaulted Frances."

Mourners heard Frances Murray described as a woman "who came alive around children".

Deacon Baxter also shared a personal recollection of the young Frances.

"Yes, she had battles with her addictions. She struggled with her demons," he said.

"I recall fondly holidays with the Lamb of God community in Donegal where the two-year-old Frances would be playing in the wide open spaces.

"But she had also learned it was not enough to simply turn up at church on a Sunday.

"She was always encouraged to be out in the community, serving the Lord, as her father Walter had served in so many ways.

"His influence has rubbed off on her. Frances was always baby sitting and indeed worked for a while as a childminder. She came alive around children.

"She will be fondly remembered for her role with her Scout troop at Cavehill Road.

"She was a member of the child liturgy team with the church, a vigil mass singer on Saturday evenings and played a major role with the parish pastoral council.

"Her father Walter always said she was like an agony aunt for others with alcohol addiction. She had a very impressive list of service and her good deeds go before her.

"These past few days have shown us that tragedies are always more painful at Christmas.

"We believe God was with her through her life and with her in a special way through her personal struggles."

Deacon Baxter also had words of praise for the emergency services who arrived at the scene.

"Where would we be without them?" he said. "It was a real education to see them work and we thank the ambulance service, the police and the state pathologist for their professionalism."

Beloved daughter of Betty and Walter and sister of John, interment followed Requiem Mass in Tullylish Cemetery, Lawrencetown, Gilford, Co Down.

Requiem Mass for the second victim of the double murder, Joseph Dutton, will be held at 10am today in St Oliver Plunkett's Church, Belfast.

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