Open-casket body desecrated in funeral home

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The Independent Online

Prison assault victim David Byrne was laid to rest yesterday, a day after vandals desecrated his body in a funeral home just hours before his removal.

The 26-year-old father of one from Sheriff Street in Dublin's north inner city was buried at the Fingal cemetery in Balgriffin, Co Dublin, yesterday morning as his distraught family continued to come to terms with the desecration of his body in an open casket at a local funeral home.

Staff at Jennings Funeral Home on Amiens Street, Dublin, confirmed that someone had scrawled "Rats" and "I'm not gone" in red pen on the dead man's forehead while he was on display at the funeral home, prior to being removed to St Laurence O'Toole's church in Seville Place on Monday evening.

Funeral home staff said they were shocked by the blatant disrespect to Mr Byrne and his family.

"It was a horrible thing to happen but it's the way things are going," a staff member told the Irish Independent last night.

The incident is believed to be linked to the ongoing feud between members of a gang led by jailed criminal Christy Griffin and rivals living in the area.

The feud has resulted in the deaths of two men, as well as grenade attacks and non-fatal shootings in the area. Mr Byrne, a convicted car thief who was serving time at Mountjoy prison, died after he was struck with a sock stuffed with batteries on June 9.

He initially survived the attack and discharged himself from hospital the following evening, but he was rushed back to hospital the next morning when prison staff were unable to revive him.

He was placed on life-support but his condition deteriorated and he died three weeks later.

It is understood the attack was sparked by a row over a television remote control.

Mr Byrne's family, who were all attending his funeral yesterday, have lashed out against the people who defaced his body, calling it a cowardly and disgusting act intended to bring further pain to a family already in mourning. Local councillor Christy Burke also expressed his revulsion over the act, calling it "the lowest of the low".

Source: Irish Independent