Northern Ireland

Christopher Meli: Funeral of west Belfast murder victim takes place

The funeral procession made its way to the Church of the Annunciation
Image caption The funeral procession made its way to the Church of the Annunciation for Requiem Mass

Mourners at the funeral of a man murdered in west Belfast have heard a call for young people not to take the law into their own hands.

Christopher Meli, a 20-year-old father of one, died after he was attacked by a gang of youths in Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate on 12 December.

Fr Aidan Denny said "Naturally, we ask why it happened. There is a tendency to say it is the will of God.

"But let us be perfectly clear. God did not will this tragedy to happen."

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Media captionMourners carry the coffin of Christopher Meli

Mr Meli's coffin was taken from his home in Sliabh Dubh Lane on Monday and placed in a horse-drawn funeral hearse.

A lone piper had led the cortege to the Church of the Annunciation, New Barnsley, for Requiem Mass.

Afterwards, as the cortege moved away from the church for burial at the City Cemetery, Mr Meli's mother, Vanessa, clutched a photograph of her son.

Image copyright Family picture
Image caption Christopher Meli was discovered on a pathway near houses at Glasvey Close in the Twinbrook estate
Image copyright Pacemaker Press
Image caption Christopher Meli's parents at his funeral

Three teenagers appeared in court last week charged with murder. Detectives revisited the scene on Sunday to issue a fresh appeal for information.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil last Monday for Mr Meli who, police said, was the victim of a "sustained and vicious assault".

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Flowers were left at the spot where his body was found in Twinbrook

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