Murder victim Anita Downey was ‘cruelly taken from us’ says priest

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Anita Downey was ‘cruelly taken from us’ said a priest at her funeral Mass in Lurgan this morning.

The 51-year-old mother of three was found murdered in Toberhewney Hall last Friday morning.

David Lyness (51) from Toberhewney Hall, Lurgan has been charged with her murder.

Speaking at Requiem Mass at St Paul’s Church this morning (Friday) Father Andrew McMahon said that when news arrived that a woman had been found murdered, ‘a great darkness seemed to descend upon us. The darkness that a Lurgan woman had died, a darkness we could hardly countenance nor understand’.

“As we learned it was Anita that had died, someone we knew, cherished and respected, and as images of Anita flooded our minds, so too her entire family came into our thoughts and our sorrow and we wpndered how they will receive the devastating news,” he said.

“We give thanks to the Lord for Anita’s life and all that she was and how she meant to us.”

Fr McMahon said Anita was the second eldest, born on August 10, 1965. Then the Doran family home was on the Antrim Road and Anita went to Tannaghmore Primary School and later St Mary’s.

He said Anita moved to Ashdeen Parke in Taghnaven in the parish of St Paul’s . “She was well known and liked. She was friendly and outgoing by nature and she made friends easily.

He spoke of how her family were close, often caravaning with cousins, how she loved her holidays abroad and enjoying the sun.

“She was full of life and enjoyed being out with friends.”

He described ‘that deeply caring and attentive side of Anita, a loving and devoted mother’.

“They will miss their mother dearly in times to come,” he said, adding that Anita was a much loved daughter and sister.

“She was a tremendous support to her family. Her father looked to Anita for support as his wife May has declined in health,” said Fr McMahon.

He described her as a ‘generous and sensitive spirit’.

“Anita was someone who played her part in the parish, especially as a Eucharistic Minister with her mother in former years.

“She has been cruelly taken from us and we are deeply saddened at the tragic circumstances in which she died.”

Anita was laid to rest at St Coleman’s Cemetery.

Anita was the dearly beloved mother of Jamie, Rebecca and Christian and much loved daughter of Thomas and May.

She is also survived by her brothers and sister Martin, Sheila and Thomas Junior.