Body of slain Mayo man to be brought home from Nigeria

Mon, Aug 27, 2012, 01:00

THE BODY of 45-year-old Irish engineer Robert Gray who was killed in a shooting in Nigeria is expected to be repatriated tomorrow.

Mr Gray was shot a number of times in an apparent robbery in Taraba State, near the border with Cameroon, last Thursday.

His body is expected back in Dublin tomorrow, from where it will be taken to his hometown of Westport, Co Mayo.

Mr Gray’s wife Jeanette, twin daughters and extended family in Westport were being comforted by local priest Fr Karl Burns yesterday.

Fr Burns told The Irish Times a funeral Mass was being arranged for Thursday or Friday in the town.

According to Mr Gray’s employers, the Irish-African PW Group, he had been returning home from work when he was the victim of an apparent robbery and was shot a number of times. Mr Gray’s driver was seriously injured in the incident and is in hospital.

A PW spokesman said Mr Gray had worked with the company for 12 years and was a very valuable and popular member of staff.

“His many friends and colleagues in PW are deeply upset by the news of his death,” the spokesman said. He added the company was doing everything it could to assist the family in Co Mayo. “The thoughts and sympathies of all Robert’s friends and colleagues in PW are with his wife and family in Ireland at this time.”

PW Group was founded in 1948 by Hugh V Flinn and his brother Donal, a businessman and former chairman of the Irish Press Group. The group has offices in a number of African countries and in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow.

A family friend of the Grays said the town of Westport was deeply shocked by the news of the killing. He recalled Mr Gray made frequent visits home, including attending his daughters’ Confirmation earlier this summer. Mr Gray was originally from the Horkans Hill area of the town, and was a member of a popular and well respected family, the friend said.