The murder of honeymooner Michaela McAreavey was an “evil act”, mourners at her funeral have been told.
Her heartbroken father, gaelic football manager Mickey Harte, and her husband John carried her coffin as the crowd walked in silence to the church where she was married last month.
The Irish language teacher, 27, was strangled in her honeymoon suite in Mauritius a week ago. She was buried in her wedding dress.
Bishop of Dromore John McAreavey, the widower’s uncle, married the couple and delivered the address.
He said: “An evil act ended Michaela’s young life last Monday, it robbed John of his beautiful wife, it deprived the Harte family, Michaela’s mum and dad and brothers, of their precious daughter and sister. It deprived the McAreavey family of the daughter-in-law they looked forward to having. It shattered homes, hopes and dreams for the future.”
Mr Harte, Michaela’s mother Marian, and brothers Mark, Michael and Mattie led mourners at the compact country church after one of the main roads running through Tyrone was closed for the funeral procession.
Symbols representing Mrs McAreavey’s beauty, faith, love of family and the Irish language were presented at the beginning of the service. Primate of the Catholic Church in Ireland Archbishop Sean Brady also took part.
Mourners at the funeral of around 3,000 people included Irish President Mary McAleese, Stormont deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and senior GAA officials. The High Commissioner of Mauritius to the UK, Abhimanu Kundasamy, was present. The Church of Ireland was represented by the Bishop of Down and Dromore, Harold Miller, and Bishop of Derry and Raphoe Ken Good. Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson was represented by Mary Madden and Irish Premier Brian Cowen by Commandant Michael Tracey.
Players from Mr Harte’s Tyrone team and his home club, Errigal Ciaran, formed a guard of honour as Mrs McAreavey’s coffin was taken from her parents’ home. Pupils from the late Irish teacher’s form class in St Patrick’s Academy, Dungannon, and players from Mr McAreavey’s Tullylish GAA club in County Down accompanied the coffin into the church.
Three men, all staff at the luxury Legends hotel, have been charged in connection with the killing, thought to have happened as Mrs McAreavey disturbed a burglary in her room.