Funeral takes place of Limerick murder victim

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

HUNDREDS of people have paid their last respects to the “beloved and respected” St Mary’s Park man Jimmy Boyce, who was brutally beaten to death.

HUNDREDS of people have paid their last respects to the “beloved and respected” St Mary’s Park man Jimmy Boyce, who was brutally beaten to death.

HUNDREDS of people have paid their last respects to the “beloved and respected” St Mary’s Park man Jimmy Boyce, who was brutally beaten to death.

St Mary’s Church was packed to capacity as mourners, including members of the Organisation of Ex-Servicemen, and his family paid tribute to a man who served in the army for six years, including a six month stint on a UN peacekeeping mission in the Congo, where he was awarded with a medal.

The St Mary’s Park community was shocked last week when the popular 72-year-old was beaten to death at his family home. His body was discovered locked into an upstairs bedroom on Monday evening last, and it is suspected a broken brush handle was used by the assailant during the vicious attack. No arrests have yet been made but gardai have spoken to a suspect, a young criminal in his 20s, on temporary prison release. Some 50 officers are now involved in the murder investigation.

Tearful mourners at the pensioner’s requiem mass, held on Saturday, heard how Mr Boyce - known as ‘Boycie’ to friends - was a “soft gentle soul”.

“He was the nicest man I ever met. He came back from England to look after his brother Joseph after his mother died. He took good care of him until he died. Jimmy had very poor health in the past few years, but never complained. He had a great love of birds, a great sense of humour, and everyone loved him in St Mary’s Park. He will be sadly missed by everyone in the parish, but especially me. He was a soft, gentle soul and I will always remember him,” recalled Noel Woodland, a lifelong friend.

Holding back tears, Ritchie Long, who lived next door to Jimmy for over 20 years, remembered his neighbour as a “gentleman” and a “personal friend”, adding: “This tragedy has shaken a whole community.”

Canon Donough O’Malley, who led the Mass said last Monday was a “low day” for the Parish, with the death of Frances Allen, 73, in a house fire hours earlier.

“Jimmy Boyce knew of love, law and compassion in his long life. He had the love of parents, siblings, and the daily generosity of a caring neighbourhood and neighbours in a beautiful natural setting. He was loved and respected, and interacted positively with all his neighbours,” the Parish Priest stated, before paying tribute to the service he had given to his country.

“He dutifully gave his service, and the willingness to lay down his life, like the redeemer, for the well-being and the uplift of others. He was a part of the peacekeeping mission to the Congo. One of the modern outreaches of hope, and love, by the men of our country, to people troubled and traumatised abroad.”

During the consecration, a fellow veteran rose to salute Mr Boyce’s coffin, which carried a simple white floral tribute, and a picture of the tragic pensioner.

Hymns at the requiem included ‘Here I am Lord’, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, and ‘Nearer my God to Thee’.

James Boyce lived in England for much of his life, returned to Limerick 15 years ago. He is survived by his brother David and sister Noreen - both of whom returned to Limerick from their current home place of London for the funeral. Following the Mass, Mr Boyce was laid to rest in Mount St Oliver Cemetery. Investigations into the tragedy are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to contact Mayorstone Gardai on 061-456980.