Guard of honour for murdered warden

Colleagues from the Northern Ireland Prison Service shouldered the coffin of the first warder killed by paramilitaries in Northern Ireland for 20 years at his funeral today.

Guard of honour for murdered warden

Colleagues from the Northern Ireland Prison Service shouldered the coffin of the first warder killed by paramilitaries in Northern Ireland for 20 years at his funeral today.

A kilt-wearing bagpiper playing a lament led six prison officers wearing immaculate navy blue suits and caps as they carried the remains of David Black, 52, military-style through the empty streets of Cookstown, Co Tyrone. Prison service hat and gloves and the union flag were carried on the coffin as lined officers formed a guard of honour.

Family members, including son Kyle, brought the married father of two’s body the last few steps into Molesworth Presbyterian Church.

First Minister Peter Robinson, PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott and Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers attended.

Mr Black was shot at high speed on a motorway by suspected dissident republicans on Thursday as he drove to work at the high-security Maghaberry prison, Co Antrim.

The head of the Presbyterian Church, Dr Roy Patton, said it was an attack on the whole community.

“We are together in this, totally united as churches, politicians, civic society, ordinary men and women who feel for you today in your unspeakable loss, and who in the strongest possible terms are outraged by such an evil deed,” he said.

“This attack on a prison officer was an attack on this whole community.”

He said all those who served the community enjoyed total support.

“As a people we stand together as those who have chosen a different way than the way of violence, that we have no desire whatsoever to be dragged back into the darkness, that what you have brought about in the death of David Black is totally unacceptable as far as we are concerned as well as being totally wrong in the eyes of God,” he added.

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