Murder victim ‘longed for life free of violence’

A FATHER of one, whose body was recovered from the River Bandon in West Cork, longed for a life without violence, his Requiem Mass heard over the weekend.

The body of 27-year-old Jonathan Duke was recovered from the River Bandon last Monday morning.

Mourners at Mr Duke’s Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Bandon were told “Dukey” had written a poem about heaven in which he spoke of the violence that was part of his life, and his longing “that it would not be that way.” Jonathan’s poem about the afterlife contained the poignant words “If there is a place in heaven keep it for me because that is where I want to be.”

The congregation heard Mr Duke also wrote a poem to his daughter Angel, 9, in which he described her as the “joy of my life, the candle that sets my soul alight, a joy to be around, to call my own.”

Chief celebrant Fr Myles McSweeney, who concelebrated the Mass with Monsignor Kevin O’Callaghan, said that “Dukey” would be remembered as a fitness fan and a loving son and brother.

“Dukey was into fitness, going to the gym, out jogging and boxing. He enjoyed taking the dog for a walk or, as the case was, the dog taking him for a walk. He adored his daughter Angel, his mother Michelle and his sisters and our hearts go out to them today. Wrapped around Dukey’s hands is a pair of rosary beads his family found among his belongings. He kept them because he knew they had a special significance. Our prayer today is that Dukey has found that place where he can be at peace and free from the constraints of this world.”

Fr McSweeney added that parishioners were in shock and disbelief following the two violent deaths in the town over the last week. Prayers were also offered at the Mass for John Forrester, 42, whose body was pulled from the River Bandon on Tuesday. It is understood he was found with his hands and feet bound.

Friends recalled that Jonathan Duke had a tough exterior, but was a lover of poetry and art.

Following the noon Requiem Mass, Mr Duke was laid to rest in the adjoining cemetery.

A man and a woman in their 30s have been charged with Mr Duke’s murder. Ciprian Grozavu, aged 37, and Catherine O’Connor, aged 35, are due before Bandon District Court again this morning.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into the death of English man John Forrester. It is understood he was beaten and stabbed before being thrown into the river. His hands and feet had been tied and he was wrapped in a rug in a bid to weigh his body down. Gardaí have made contact with the family of Mr Forrester in Lincoln and Blackpool.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who might have seen Mr Forrester between 8pm on Saturday and midnight on Sunday, November 13, to contact Bandon Garda Station at 023-8852200.

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