Fears as family bids farewell to inner-city legend

Funeral in Toxteth: Police hope that bloody cycle of street violence will come to an end with the burial of David Ungi

Jonathan Foster
Tuesday 21 November 1995 00:02 GMT


The family was believed to have spent pounds 12,000 on the wake last night, a torrent of a send-off for David Ungi which police in Liverpool hope will drown the cycle of gangland vengeance which led to his fatal ambush.

Mr Ungi was gunned down in Toxteth in May. His funeral yesterday raised detectives' fears that the decorum of a requiem mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church will be an overture to further settling of scores.

In their own inner city patch, the Ungi family are nobility, evoking fear and deference.

The funeral will make working class legend. Its cortege of 31 stretch limousines took five minutes to pass and had to be double parked before the mourners could walk to the church watched by a crowd of about 1,000 people.

More than 150 family and close friends stepped from the limos, their gold bracelets and sunbed tans conspicuous in the monotone of mean streets.

A flat bed lorry followed the procession, covered with flowers. Mr Ungi's three sons sent a 5ft high tableau depicting his picture and a dove. There were floral boxing rings, a boxing glove and titles - to "Dad", "Uncle", "Brother", and "Gent".

His mother, Vera, composed a memorial notice in the Liverpool Echo, turning her late son's name into an acronym: "D" for Distinguished, "A" for Admirable, through to "I" for Incomparable.

Not all the family could be at the graveside at Allerton cemetery, where all other funerals had been cancelled for the day. Two of Mr Ungi's six brothers are in custody charged with a violent reprisal, while an uncle and six friends joined them yesterday on drugs charges.

Police investigating Mr Ungi's murder named two men they wanted to question in connection with the attack, when two shots left Mr Ungi to bleed to death. Both men are believed to be in Jamaica.

The feud has so far led to 12 shooting incidents. Six people have been hurt, many more frightened. At the height of the violence, police cradled machine-guns as they patrolled the streets of Toxteth.

Vendettas had begun between Mr Ungi's entourage and rivals from nearby Granby when machismo was wounded, according to police. An insult in a pub named Cheers became a street fight, then a shooting, then a murder.

What happens after the wake will determine whether bloody jealousy will be laid to rest with David Ungi. In the meantime, all police leave has been cancelled.

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