Crowds line out for Catherine Gowing funeral
There were “no words” to explain the death of Catherine Gowing who had been working as a vet in Wales when she was murdered, mourners at her funeral in the village of Kinnitty, Co Offaly, were told yesterday.
Parish priest of Kinnitty Fr Michael O’Meara said nothing could explain “why such a darkness visited our parish and this young woman in the prime of her life”.
Ms Gowing (37) from Clonlee, Birr, was last seen alive at a supermarket in Queensferry, north Wales, on October 12th.
She had been living in New Brighton, Flintshire, close to where she worked at a veterinary practice for about 18 months prior to her murder. Her remains were returned to her family on Tuesday.
Hundreds of mourners filled St Flannan’s Church and its grounds in the village, not far from the woman’s family home, where Fr O’Meara said her family had waited “a long three months” for her return.
Ms Gowing’s mother Maureen, father John, sister Emma and brother-in-law Shay were joined at the church by family, friends and Catherine’s work colleagues from Wales.
Concelebrating Mass with Bishop of Killaloe Kieran O’Reilly, his predecessor Bishop Willie Walsh and eight priests from surrounding parishes, Fr O’Meara received gifts brought to the altar by Ms Gowing’s friends and family that represented her life.
They included a globe and a DVD of the film Into the Wild and a toy sheep symbolising her love of animals and travel.
Fr O’Meara thanked North Wales police, represented at the funeral by Det Chief Insp Mark Pierce, for their “painstaking, diligent and patient investigation” and the “wonderfully compassionate way” in which they and local gardaí had liaised with Ms Gowing’s family.
A candle was lit in the church on October 19th, days after Ms Gowing was reported missing. Fr O’Meara said “it refused to burn out, as if waiting for Catherine to come home”.
In her eulogy, Emma Gowing described her sister as someone who “sought the good in everyone she met”.
She recalled how on New Year’s Eve 2011, when her sister was on call as a vet in Wales, she received a text to say she had just delivered two lambs.
“I can’t think of a better way to start 2012,” it said.
She said her sister was “happiest when she was walking up to the top field with our dog Bobby”.
Thanking friends, family, neighbours, priests and the police for their support, she said, “every act of kindness, thought, prayer, kind word has reinforced the good that is here with us”.
“Our hearts are broken. We miss her, we love her, but Catherine is in a good place. She never said goodbye, there is no goodbye. There is only love.”
Laid to rest
Ms Gowing’s colleagues raised the alarm when she failed to return to work on October 15th. Her sister and brother-in-law Shay travelled to Wales, where Emma made a number of appeals for information.
Their worst fears were realised on October 31st when human remains were discovered in a shallow pond at Sealand and on the banks of the river Dee on November 2nd.
Shortly after Miss Gowing’s disappearance, police arrested Clive Sharp (46) from Bethesda, Gwynedd. He has been charged with murder and is due to reappear in court next Monday.
Ms Gowing was laid to rest in St Flannan’s Cemetery in Kinnitty.