In­con­solable... a north Belfast mother buries her third son to die by sui­cide in six years

Belfast Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - BY CLAIRE MCNEILLY

HUNDREDS of mourn­ers turned out yes­ter­day to say a last good­bye at the fu­neral of the third of three north Belfast broth­ers who took their own lives.

Stephen Fer­rin (31), a fa­therof-one, was dis­cov­ered dead at his home at Old­park Road on Sun­day — just days af­ter be­ing dis­charged from hos­pi­tal.

Fam­ily and friends gath­ered to­gether to sup­port one another through their grief at re­quiem mass, which was held at Sa­cred Heart Church, fol­lowed by burial in Carn­money Ceme­tery.

It is the fourth tragedy to hit the wider Fer­rin fam­ily, as two of Stephen’s broth­ers — Kieran (24) and 19-year-old Niall — died by sui­cide, as did his cousin Christo­pher, who was also 19.

Dis­traught mourn­ers wiped away tears while walk­ing be­hind Stephen’s cof­fin dur­ing the fu­neral pro­ces­sion.

On a dark, damp morn­ing, bou­quets of multi-coloured flow­ers sat brightly on the roof of the grey hearse as it made its way from the fam­ily home to the church be­fore mass, with peo­ple lin­ing the street.

A blue and while flo­ral ar­range­ment on the left hand side at the top of the Mercedes car spelt out the word ‘Mate’, while in the win­dow be­neath it another blos­som trib­ute read ‘Bro’, and other in the back of the ve­hi­cle said ‘Son’.

Af­ter the cer­e­mony, which was of­fi­ci­ated by Fr Darach Mac Gi­olla Cathain, peo­ple braved the rain to walk be­hind the cof­fin, which was be­decked with a mix­ture of white roses and lilies.

Ear­lier this week Stephen’s par­ents, Pa­tri­cia and Ed­die, said he was “a hand­some, bub­bly and witty young man” who would be deeply missed by “lots and lots of friends” and ev­ery­one else who loved him.

“Stephen is a fa­ther, a brother and a son who is cher­ished and deeply loved and he will be sadly missed by all his friends and fam­ily,” they said.

“His death is dev­as­tat­ing to us, to his friends and to the whole com­mu­nity and we would like to bury him with dig­nity and the re­spect he de­serves.”

Stephen is sur­vived by his mother and fa­ther, sis­ters Danielle and Sea­neen, daugh­ter So­phie and wider fam­ily cir­cle.

It is un­der­stood that, in re­cent years, Stephen lost at least five close friends to sui­cide, as well as his two broth­ers and their cousin.

His brother Kieran Fer­rin, who was in his early 20s, was beaten un­con­scious and left with fa­cial in­juries in a sec­tar­ian at­tack in Ar­doyne five months be­fore he took his own life in Fe­bru­ary 2014. Three years pre­vi­ously, in 2011, his 19-year-old brother, Niall, also took his own life, hav­ing also been the vic­tim of a bru­tal sec­tar­ian at­tack at the age of 15. He was beaten un­con­scious with a golf club at Clifton­park Av­enue by a loy­al­ist gang.

The fam­ily were also dealt a bru­tal blow in 2010 when their cousin, Christo­pher Scott-Fer­rin, took his own life af­ter he ran in tears from the Mater Hos­pi­tal A&E unit.

De­spite the prom­ise of an ur­gent as­sess­ment, the trau­ma­tised teenager left the hos­pi­tal af­ter more than eight hours with­out help and took his own life in an east Belfast park five days later.

l If you or any­one you know is in dis­tress con­tact the Sa­mar­i­tans in con­fi­dence on 0845 790 9090 or Life­line on 080 8808 8000.

Pa­tri­cia Fer­rin (cen­tre) at the fu­neral of her son Stephen (be­low) at the Sa­cred Heart

Church in north Belfast yes­ter­day

KEVIN SCOTT

Dis­traught mother Pa­tri­cia Fer­rin at­tends the fu­neral of her son Stephen Fer­rin (in­set)

KEVIN SCOTT

The fu­neral pro­ces­sion of Stephen Fer­rin takes place in north Belfast

Pa­tri­cia Fer­rin with cher­ished pic­tures of her sons Niall (left) and Kieran

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