A family remembered a young Irish man with a glint in his eye and who knew how infectious his smile was at his funeral service in Australia today.
Cian English, 19, originally from, Bullock Park, Carlow Town but who was living with his parents Siobhan and Vinny and older brother Dylan, in the eastern Brisbane suburb of Hawthorne, suffered traumatic injuries when he fell from a balcony at the View Pacific resort in Surfers Paradise at around 3.15am Saturday, May 23.
The teenager fell to his death when he was allegedly being robbed at knifepoint following an apartment party. He attempted to escape but tragically fell from the fourth-floor balcony.
Three men have been charged with his murder, Jason Ryan Knowles, 22, Hayden Paul Kratzmann, 20, and Lachlan Paul Soper-Lagas, 18, and have been remanded in custody until August 4 when their cases will be mentioned in court.
They also face two charges of armed robbery and two counts of deprivation of liberty, on the Gold Coast located 74kms away from Brisbane.
His funeral was streamed live on Youtube so those who could not attend from Ireland and worldwide could watch.
His oak coffin was adorned with a spray of white roses and purple irises while photographs of Cian with his mother Siobhan, father Vinny and older brother Dylan.
Cian’s coffin was dropped in jerseys of his family proud links to Carlow GAA O’Hanrahans and the Irish soccer and rugby teams.
To the sounds of bird song in the background and in bright sunshine, Fr Gerard McMurrow welcomed mourners to the outdoor ceremony held at 10am Australian time (1am Irish time) today.
Cian’s emotional father Vinny, told mourners gathered at Centenary Memorial Gardens that burying his son, “is incredibly hard, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“Cian buddy we are all here for you and we are going to be strong as you gave us strength all the time. I want to say thanks to so many people, the emergency services, Queensland police, our families.
I know we are not all together but they have been incredibly strong for us. I know we are not all physically together but you’ve no idea the words, the kind thoughts and flowers we have (received) they mean so much to us.
“There’s a few people I want to thank especially. I want to thank John and Michelle, family who have been very close to us here. They have been an absolute rock for us, Evan and Brooke who have helped Dylan. To the lads, who carried Cian here today - it was a very strong and incredible thing to do. It makes us proud.”
Mr English, who is CEO of telecommunications company, Megaport added: "I just want to talk about our friends and family. My Dad John passed away in December. It takes six people to carry a coffin and my Mam asked Cian to help carry him. He said to her, ‘One hundred percent. I got it.’
“That’s what family is all about, it’s about bond, it brings us together. Things go sideways a lot of times in relationships and families- that’s what helps get us through.”
Through tears he explained: “Cian was a loveable character, always a cheeky smile and a grin on his face. He was just full of life and, God love him, even if we were giving out to him about something he shouldn’t be doing. You would just look at him and it wouldn’t last long.
“He was always there and we wish we had more of him. It’s really important to us as a family to know what devilment he got up to and just the stories that he was there for them.
We are incredibly proud of Cian. He’s with his grandfathers John and Richie now looking down on us. If he was here he would probably tell me to ‘man up’.
"He always had a glint in his eyes, he was always smiling, he had a great soul, we loved you so much Cian. He didn’t like negative things, he always looked at the positive and wanted the positive around him. He was always giving people hugs. That’s who he was.
“We just want everyone to know that from Siobhan, Dylan and myself, Cian we are so proud of you and we love you so much and we always will. He was our hero - I love you son.”
Several of the teenager's friends spoke of how they saw him more as a “brother” than a friend.
Several songs were played during the hour-long ceremony such as Angels by British singer Robbie Williams, the air You Raise Me Up, and songs from Bon Jovi. His remains were later cremated in a private family ceremony.
An additional service will be held in the Cathedral of the Assumption Carlow at a later date when his ashes are brought back to Ireland.