HUNDREDS of mourners attended the funeral of alleged murder victim Martin Ithell whose partner Sarah told the congregation her broken heart will ‘never mend’.
Many were forced to stand outside the tiny rural church of St Lawrence, Stoak, near Chester and listen to the service on a loud speaker.
Sarah Potbury, Martin’s girlfriend of 10 years, paid tribute to the 49-year-old former doorman, who died last month of stab and gun shot wounds in Frodsham but whose body was driven to Blacon police station.
Sarah, in a eulogy read by presiding clergyman Rev Gordon Welch, said: “I know everyone says that I will feel better in time but I know that my heart is broken and will never mend.
The 36-year-old, who lived with her partner at Robinsons Croft, Great Boughton, continued: “I’m just so glad I was fortunate to share my life with such a wonderful man. Even after 10 years together I would still get butterflies in my tummy when he was due home.
“He would always greet me with a beaming smile and say ‘Hi, babe’ and kiss me. He had a way of making me laugh like no-one else can and that lovely smile melts my heart.
“I love him so much and will never come to terms with the fact that I’m never going to see him, kiss him, hold him or talk to him again. I will never forget you babe and will love you forever and ever.”
Rev Welch said Martin grew up on his parents’ farm at nearby Wervin and his ashes would be interred at St Lawrence where he was baptised and attended Sunday school as a youngster.
Martin’s Welsh cousin Meilyr Owen, an S4C football commentator, recalled childhood memories of visiting his uncle Jim’s farm and playing with Martin and his brother Jimmy. Sounding emotional, he described Martin as ‘a quiet, shy boy who developed into a quiet, confident young man’ and whose ‘broad smile’ was his lasting memory.
Martin’s friend Tony O’Donnell, from Chester, said his pal had good friends from the security business going back over 25 years, many of whom were in attendance ‘to pay respect to a gentleman and a true professional’.