Shot submarine officer Ian Molyneux's funeral held

Hundreds of people have paid their respects to a Royal Navy officer who was shot dead on board the nuclear submarine HMS Astute.

Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux, a father of four, died on 8 April while the vessel was docked in Southampton.

A requiem Mass was held for the 36-year-old at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, in Wigan - his home town.

Able Seaman Ryan Samuel Donovan, 22, of Dartford, Kent, is charged with murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Sailors in uniform - many of whom were colleagues of Lt Cdr Molyneux during his 20 years in the Senior Service - lined the streets outside the church as the funeral cortege arrived.

Legion veterans

Lt Cdr Molyneux's eldest sons wore their own military uniforms.

Jamie, 13, was in his Marine cadet's uniform and his grandfather's campaign medals. Arron, 12, wore his own Navy Cadet uniform.

The boys flanked their mother Gillian, who clutched the hands of her two youngest children, six-year-old Bethany and three-year-old Charlie, who was wearing a Wigan Warriors RLFC kit.

Image caption Lt Cdr Molyneux was an "excellent submariner", his colleague said

Veterans from the Royal British Legion gave the funeral cortege a guard of honour, as the pine coffin, draped in a Union flag with Lt Cdr Molyneux's naval cap and a single rose on top, was carried into church by six pall bearers, all friends and shipmates of the officer.

A card among the floral tributes read: "My darling Ian, I will love you always, you will forever remain in my heart until we meet again, sleep well my forever love."

Another read: "Dear Dad, you are the greatest dad in the world, I am proud to be your son, I will forever miss you, Jamie."

Lt Cdr Molyneux, known as "Molly" by shipmates, had been heavily involved in the junior amateur rugby league scene in Wigan.

He coached youngsters at the local Shevington Sharks club and many young people and friends from the strong rugby community in the town listened to the service on loudspeakers outside the church.

His son Jamie told mourners: "We pray that dad will rest in peace and that one day we will be reunited in heaven with him."

Image caption The father-of-four was shot dead on board the nuclear submarine HMS Astute

As the mourners applauded, he added: "We pray that dad will never be forgotten, we pray for the crew of HMS Astute."

Lt Cdr Richard Bowie who met Lt Cdr Molyneux when they joined the navy at the age of 16, paid tribute to him.

He said his colleague was "completely down to earth, and had such humility that nothing was too much trouble for him, nothing had to be asked for - it was always offered, he was completely dependable".

He added: "He inspired me whilst he lived and even in the last three weeks he's inspired me to be better, to have more courage and as his memory and legacy endures he will inspire us all."

Speaking outside the church, Capt Phil Buckley, captain of the Faslane Flotilla to which HMS Astute belongs, said: "He had it all in my opinion.

"He had a great sense of humour and his opinion was one you always listened to."

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