David Murphy funeral: Some people will only remember the bad he did

Murder victim David Hugh MurphyMurder victim David Hugh Murphy
Murder victim David Hugh Murphy
The funeral of murder victim David Hugh Murphy has been told any good he did will likely be buried with him, and the public will recall only his mistakes.

Mourners gathered on Monday in the Anglican church in Carnlough, the village on the east Antrim coast where he attended primary school, to remember his life.

The 52-year-old was shot dead with a shotgun at his rural home in Glenwherry, midway between Ballymena and Larne.

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It happened sometime between February 15 and when his body was found between his kitchen and hallway on February 19 by a friend.

The motive remains unclear, and police have been tight-lipped about their main lines of inquiry.

He was jailed in 2005 for running guns for the UVF, and faced a blackmailing charge last year until the case against him was withdrawn by the PPS.

He was buried after the service in the adjoining graveyard, where his three stillborn children are also buried.

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Little has been revealed about his life besides his loyalist connections (with the PUP’s Billy Hutchinson saying he became “estranged” from the UVF over the years).

The service was taken by Rev Canon Mark Taylor, who opened with a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in which one of the characters mourns the death of the emperor:

“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar.”

The minister added: “Sadly this is probably also true today for David, that the good he has done will be forgotten and his mistakes in life will be remembered by those who never knew him and the good that he did.

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“Those who never knew the joy he brought to others, nor the sorrows he felt in life.

“Today we are here to remember David, to give thanks for the good that he did in his life and to share in the sorrow and grief of those who will miss him most.”

Mr Murphy attended primary school in both Carnlough and neighbouring Glenarm, then Larne High School, then trained in Larne Tech.

The minister added that he worked as a coachbuilder at Wrights, then for Ulsterbus, and then drove lorries before turning to farming.

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He spoke of how he loved to sing as a boy, and how he would follow his father and grandfather around, imitating their DIY and farming work.

He added: “There is so much that most of us will never know about David... We can know of the three children who never got a chance to live and bring joy into his life - but not of the deep and abiding pain he felt at their deaths.”

The minister added that Mr Murphy had been loved by both God and his family, adding: “While it may be easy for us to judge the actions of one who cannot defend himself we need to remember that on more than one occasion Jesus reminded us not to judge others, that it is God’s role to be judge, not ours, for none of us are perfect and we have all fallen far short of the glory of God.

“Today we have gathered, as Mark Anthony did, for a funeral.

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“Today we bury a son, a brother, a friend, and neighbour. We are gathered here today to give such comfort and support as we can to David’s parents, his brothers and sisters and the wider circle of family and friends.

“With them we can remember the good that he did, the joy he brought, as we comfort them in their grief.

“We can share the sadness and sorrow they feel for a life cut short, for a future that is now forever changed.

“With this family we leave David in God’s care and keeping. We pray for them, the parents, siblings and the whole family, that as they lay David to rest with those he has loved who have gone before him that in the days to come they will know God’s peace; the peace that passes all our understanding, a peace that this world cannot give; and that they may face the future with the knowledge of God’s unending love.”

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The minister said the funeral had been well-attended by friends and the victim’s large family.

Speaking of his past convictions last week, DUP councillor Beth Adger, who once met him at a wedding 20 years ago, said: “There are plenty of people walking about from other organisations who are the same and that’s done time, and I wouldn’t have held that against them.

“Plenty of people get involved in these things and then can’t get out of them.”

She added: “I feel so sorry for his parents – nobody deserves to die like that.”