Funeral of Dungannon-born ‘legend’
A TRAGIC Dungannon man who lost his newly-wedded wife to cancer just months before he was brutally murdered in his own home was laid to rest on Thursday.
The funeral service for Jeff Burrows, who was known as Big Humph, was held almost seven weeks after he was stabbed to death in his flat in Brighton on April 29.
He had lived in England for almost 20 years and was described as a gentle giant by friends.
His wife Brione died on the day after their wedding in January.
The release of the 39-year-old’s body was delayed until now after a further two independent autopsies were carried out on Mr Burrows’ body following requests from the legal teams of the two men accused of his murder.
Speaking to the News Letter, Mr Burrows’ heartbroken father David described the wait for the return of his son’s body as an endless nightmare.
“It has been one long nightmare since we got the news that Jeff had been killed – it has seemed endless at times,” he said.
“There have been hundreds of people calling to the house and the phone has never stopped ringing since this happened. People just wanted to sympathise and to know when the funeral was going to take place – but we couldn’t tell them as we didn’t know either.”
The funeral was held in Dungannon Methodist Church.
Despite the agonising wait, David said he wasn’t angry over the delay caused by the English legal system.
“From the very start the police in England warned us that it could be some time before we would have Jeff back home.
“Unfortunately that is just the way things are handled over there and it has been very difficult for us, but we have to accept that this is how the justice system works and we want justice for Jeff.
“We were not really able to grieve for him or move on in any way since he died but now it is a big relief to have his body back for the funeral.
“The [Sussex] police have been really great and very thorough in their investigation. We could not have asked for any more.
Jeff had been a member of the successful Syerla Pipe Band in Tyrone before he moved to England where he worked as a bricklayer.
Paramedics tried for more than an hour to save Mr Burrows but he was pronounced dead at the scene. Results from a post-mortem concluded that he had died from stab wounds.
Adam White, 22, from Liverpool, and Joel Elliott, 22, from Brighton, have been charged with murder and remain in custody.
The two men are due to appear at Lewes Crown Court on July 6.
In the days after his murder, tributes were paid to a local newspaper website in Brighton.
Mark Rusling, a friend and neighbour of Mr Burrows, described him as “a wonderful man”.
“The way he loved and cared for Brione was so loving and touching, he always had a smile and a warm welcome whenever you saw him even though he had been to hell and back losing his beautiful Brione to cancer,” he said.
Tributes also flowed into the website from friends back home in Dungannon.
One said: “I grew up with Jeff, or ‘Big Humph’ as he was known to everyone in Dungannon. We played together in our pipe band for many years.
“Many people from Dungannon are devastated to hear this news. What a legend he was, a true gentle giant who often had people in fits of laughter. RIP ‘Big Humph’ – you’ll be talked about for years to come.”
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Weather for Dungannon
Sunday 19 May 2013
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