Belfast Telegraph

Picture of the week: Daughter's tears for murdered father

By Kerry McKittrick

As she stares at her father's coffin in tears, four-year-old Corry-Leigh McGibbon is comforted at his funeral by a family member. The story of how Michael McGibbon came to lose his life is a sickeningly needless one.

The 33-year-old Belfast taxi driver is believed to have made an unfavourable comment to the daughter of a dissident republican. Then, Thursday week ago, two men arrived at the McGibbons' Ardoyne home to threaten Michael, a father-of-four, but he refused to go outside with them.

It was while he was collecting his children from school the following day that he was approached by senior dissident republicans and told to present himself at an alley off Butler Place for a so-called 'punishment' shooting - or face exile. Mr McGibbon was not known to police and had no connection to dissidents.

On arriving at Butler Place on Friday night, he was shot three times in the leg - one of the bullets severing an artery. He was found bleeding heavily a short time later by his wife Joanna - a nurse - but she was unable to save him. Mr McGibbon died in her arms.

On Thursday, Mr McGibbon's remains were taken from his house on the Crumlin Road to the Holy Cross Church, where Requiem Mass was said for around 800 people.

Before the service, Mrs McGibbon and the couple's four children - Seanna (17), Shea (9), Michaela (6) and Corry-Leigh (4) - all knelt by their father's coffin in one final, farewell prayer. The hearse outside the church bore floral tributes spelling out 'Daddy', 'Brother', 'Son' and 'Husband'.

Requiem Mass was said by Fr Eugene McCarthy and co-celebrants Fr Gary Donegan, Fr Ochran Eastwood and Fr Gareth Thomas.

Fr McCarthy said that no human being had the right to act as judge, jury and executioner and that Michael McGibbon didn't deserve to die the way he had. After the funeral mass, Mr McGibbon was laid to rest at Carnmoney Cemetery.

A group calling itself the 'New IRA' has admitted responsibility for the murder.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph