Community pays tribute to murdered Offaly vet

 

Hundreds of mourners lined the main street in Kinnitty as the remains of murdered Co Offaly vet Catherine Gowing were removed from her family home to St Flannan’s Church in Kinnitty, Co Offaly, last night.

The close-knit rural community thronged the church to pay their respects to the Irish vet who was murdered in Wales last October. Ms Gowing’s mother Maureen, father John, sister Emma and brother-in-law Shay were joined by family, friends and Catherine’s work colleagues from Wales.

Kinnitty parish priest, Fr Michael O’Meara, said Catherine’s family and the wider community had been sustained by their faith. “I welcome Catherine home to this community she was such a part of, She was loved by everybody and surrounded by that love,” he remarked. Fr O’Meara described Ms Gowing as a beautiful, talented, loving young lady who was loved by everyone in the community. He thanked the community for their continued support and extended a special thanks to representatives of the Welsh police.

Miss Gowing, a 37-year-old vet from Clonlee, Clareen, Birr, Co Offaly, was last seen alive at a supermarket in Queensferry, north Wales on October 12th last. Her remains were returned to her family yesterday.

She had been living in New Brighton, Flintshire, close to where she worked at a veterinary practice for around 18 months prior to her murder. Colleagues raised the alarm when she failed to return to work on October 15th. Her sister Emma and brother-in-law Shay travelled to Wales, where Emma made a number of appeals for her sister’s return.

Their worst fears were realised on October 31st when human remains were discovered in a shallow pond at Sealand. Further remains were discovered on the banks of the river Dee at Higher Ferry, Chester 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.

Miss Gowing’s parents are highly respected in Co Offaly. Her mother Maureen is a retired primary school teacher and her father John worked the family farm.

Fine Gael TD and Clareen resident, Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy described the Gowing family as “very hard working and very, very well respected in the community.” She said the murder had stunned the entire community but for any parent such a tragedy is “your worst nightmare.” Mrs Corcoran-Kennedy added, “your heart would go out to Emma, her sister who was out in Wales with her husband”. Ms Corcoran-Kennedy expressed her hope that the family could get some closure. “Having the funeral is where you, I suppose, come to terms with things,” she said.

Local councillor Percy Clendennen (FG) said he would also like to think the funeral might give some comfort to Miss Gowing’s family. Miss Gowing will be laid to rest in St Flannan’s Cemetery after midday Mass at Kinnitty church today.