herald

Friday 18 August 2017

'I never got to say goodbye' - tragic gun victim Benny's partner tells funeral mass

The coffin of Benny Whitehouse is carried from the church at his funeral in Balbriggan
The coffin of Benny Whitehouse is carried from the church at his funeral in Balbriggan

The partner of gang victim Benny Whitehouse, who was gunned down in Balbriggan after they dropped their daughter to a local school, has told of how she will never get to tell him how much he meant to her.

At his funeral today, father-of-two Whitehouse was remembered as a man devoted to his children. His partner Natasha White, who was also shot in the attack, read a poem dedicated to him. Standing bravely in front of the mourners, Natasha told of how she never got to say goodbye to Benny.

HEART

"You may be out of my sight but you'll never be out of my heart. I will never hear your voice again," she said.

"I never got to say goodbye to you or tell you how much you really meant to me," she added.

The church of St Peter and Paul in the north Dublin town where Whitehouse was shot was packed today for the requiem mass for the 35-year-old. The priest who conducted the mass, Fr Paul St John, said: "Every one of us is a sinner but we have no right to judge each other."

"Benny died for standing up for something he believed in, and the price he paid for it is he is here today. Those who knew Benny know what I'm saying," he added. Benny and Natasha's daughters Holly and Sophie were also present and a relative spoke on their behalf.

"We've cried so many tears yet our hearts are broken just the same," she said.

"Nothing fills the emptiness now you're no longer there. We've so many precious memories to last our whole life through, each one of them reminds us of how much we're missing you.

"Lots of love, from Holly and Sophie," the poem ended.

After requiem mass, the gun victim's remains were brought to Balscadden Old School cemetery for burial.

Whitehouse had been warned by gardai that his life was in danger only two weeks before he was murdered.

Gardai believe a gang who he had been feuding with were responsible for shooting him in cold blood after he dropped his young daughter to school.

A lone gunman callously singled him out and blasted him at least four times as he got into his car on Clonard Street in Balbriggan.

Last November, the bitter dispute in which Whitehouse was embroiled reached a flashpoint when there were two violent incidents outside the same school where he was dropping his child when he was shot.

Central to the dispute is a Traveller crime kingpin who has taken over from slain drug dealer John Paul Joyce.

This man has linked up with a major crime gang from Swords and has been trying to exert control over north county Dublin and parts of Louth.

hnews@herald.ie

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