Hundreds gather for Gowing funeral
The funeral of murdered 37-year old Catherine Gowing took place in Co Offaly this afternoon.
Hundreds of mourners filled St Flannan’s Church and its grounds in the village of Kinnitty, not far from the woman’s family home.
Ms Gowing from Clonlee in Birr, Co Offaly, 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 around 18 months prior to her murder. Her remains were returned to her family on Tuesday.
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.
Parish priest of Kinnitty Fr Michael O’Meara said there were “no words to explain why such a darkness visited our parish and this young woman in the prime of her life”.
Joined by 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, representing her life.
They included a globe and a DVD of the film Into the Wild, sympbolising her love of travel, and a stuffed sheep representing her love of animals.
Fr O’Meara thanked North Wales police, represented at the funeral by detective chief inspector Mark Pierce, for their painstaking, diligent and patient investigation” and the “wonderfully compassionate way” in which they and local gardai had liased with Ms Gowing’s family.
Of a candle lit in the church on October 19th, days after Ms Gowing was reported missing, he 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 working 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 in their three-month wait for the return of her sister’s remains, she said, “every act of kindness, thought, prayer, kind word has reinforced the good that’s 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”.
Ms Gowing was laid to rest this afternoon in St Flannan’s cemetery in Kinnitty.
Colleagues of Ms Gowing 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.