The family and friends of Joby Murphy lined the streets of North Belfast in their hundreds this morning (Thursday) to say their final goodbyes to the 20-year-old who died after falling into the River Lagan last month. The Glengormley man’s body was recovered on Saturday past, over a month after he had fallen into the river after a night out at the Odyssey complex.
After nearly five weeks of waiting and praying, his heartbroken family were able to say their final farewells to the Glengormley barman today.
Holy Family Church in Newington was filled to capacity for his funeral Mass this morning. Speaking yesterday, his devastated father Joe said it was a great relief that they could finally lay him to rest. He also thanked the people of North Belfast and beyond for their overwhelming support for his grieving family during their lengthy ordeal.
“I would like to thank everyone from North Belfast and beyond for their generosity, thoughts and prayers,” he said. “A tragedy like this brings the goodness out in people and that will last forever for me. It is just such a relief to have him home.”
Mum Katrina said she was “just so glad that he has come home”.
Hundreds lined the streets North Belfast this morning (Thursday) to pay their final respects to a much-loved local man who tragically died after falling in to the River Lagan last month.
Glengormley man Joby Murphy fell into the river in the early hours of Thursday, January 26 after a night out with friends during which they had been drinking cheap ‘shots’ at the Odyssey complex.
After an agonising search of over four weeks, his body was finally discovered last Saturday (February 25) near Albert Wharf. A sonar team from County Cork, brought in by Joby’s family, located the 20-year-old’s body and PSNI divers retrieved his remains.
It brought to an end a harrowing month for Joby’s devastated parents Joe and Katrina and his girlfriend Karen McKeever, who had been out with him on the night the Hilton Hotel barman fell into the water.
As the search continued, Joby’s family held a lengthy vigil at the Lagan Lookout, lighting candles and saying prayers. The distraught family brought in private search teams to help find his body.
Speaking to the North Belfast News yesterday, Joby’s mum Katrina said there were tears of joy and sadness when they found Joby on Saturday.
“It was such a great relief for everyone and we are just so glad that he has come home,” she said.
Joe Murphy reiterated his call for pubs and clubs to bring to an end to the cheap drink promotions that he believes led to Joby’s death.
“Joby went out for the night and didn’t come home,” he said. “He went out for a drink and just couldn’t handle it. The shots that these clubs are selling for just a pound are like sweeties. They should stop selling them before another life is destroyed.”
The stark reality of how cheap drink can affect young people was again brought into sharp focus for Joe last Wednesday night as the long search for Joby continued.
“We were standing opposite the Odyssey,” recalled Joe, “and we could see the young ones falling over and throwing up. It was so sad to see.”
Joe paid a warm tribute to rescue teams and private boat owners for their help during the search operation and he thanked the people of North Belfast who have been donating to a fundraising appeal to buy sonar equipment for use in future rescues.
“I would like to thank everyone from North Belfast and beyond for their generosity, thoughts and prayers,” said Joe.
“I would also like to thank the Community Rescue Service who are worth their weight in gold. A tragedy like this brings the goodness out in people and that will last forever for me. It is just such a relief to have him home.”
Joby Murphy was laid to rest this morning at Carnmoney Cemetery after funeral Mass at Holy Family Church in Newington.
Joby is survived by his parents Joe and Katrina, siblings Stacey, Kevin, Martin, Fiona and Joel and his girlfriend Karen McKeever.