Belfast Telegraph

Murdered drug dealer led lonely life due to agoraphobia, funeral told

The funeral of Paul Smyth took place at St Patrick’s Church in Lisburn on Saturday afternoon
The funeral of Paul Smyth took place at St Patrick’s Church in Lisburn on Saturday afternoon
Paul Smyth
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Hundreds of mourners at the funeral of murdered drug dealer Paul Smyth were told the "lonely man" hadn't left his home in over 16 years due to a mental disorder.

Fr Eamon Magorrian told those gathered in St Patrick's Church in Lisburn that the 50-year-old was a quiet individual and had struggled with agoraphobia for over a decade.

It's understood Smyth had links to a family in west Belfast involved in the drugs trade.

The clergyman described him as a man of faith, who was wearing rosary beads when he was gunned down in his Coulson Avenue home on June 19.

"I did not have the privilege of getting to know Paul during his lifetime, he led such a quiet, secluded and hidden life," Fr Magorrian said.

"His family kindly told me about his life and his close bond with his beloved mother, his career as a painter and decorator and how he suffered in later life with agoraphobia, not able to leave his house for the last 16 years of his life.

"I can only imagine the kind of sad and lonely life he must have lived, not being able to leave the house for all those years, but he had his faith in Christ.

"He kept his rosary around his neck every day of his life and was wearing it when he died."

Detectives are investigating whether as much as £80,000, as well as a quantity of cocaine, were taken from the recluse's home by his killer.

Smyth was blasted in the chest by an intruder armed with a shotgun who had entered the property through an unlocked door.

His body, slumped against a blood-soaked sofa, was discovered by a female friend two days later. Sunday Life reported that police and criminal sources confirmed Smyth had been heavily involved in the drugs trade.

"Paul Smyth sold drugs in Lisburn for a west Belfast gang," one source told the newspaper. "He was well regarded and had close ties to senior criminals in west Belfast."

There is no suggestion, however, that the motive for the killing is related to Smyth's drug activities.

According to Fr Magorrian, the deceased "expressed his faith in his own way".

The cleric shared with the congregation his belief that God "has got a special wee place in his house for Paul and people like him" who led lonely lives.

"I can be sure he has already received a warm welcome from Christ," he added.

One of the murdered man's nieces read from the Bible during the Requiem Mass.

His remains were taken to Holy Trinity Cemetery for burial following the service.

James Holmes (32), of Lawnmount Crescent, and James McVeigh (29), of Ward Avenue, both Lisburn, have been remanded in custody jointly charged with the murder.

The pair have also been charged with attempting to murder a man and woman on June 23, and with having a shotgun and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

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