Funeral for suicide driver

By Brendan McDaid

Belfast Telegraph

30 December 2004


An Ulster Dean today spoke of a worrying culture of suicide as he prepared to bury a 22-year-old who took his own life after killing a toddler while driving.

The funeral service for mechanic Johnny Montgomery, from Whitecross in Co Donegal, was due to be held at St Eunan's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Raphoe this afternoon.

Mr Montgomery's parents Robert and Patricia, who yesterday attended the funeral of Strabane toddler Adam Mullen, were expected to lead hundreds of mourners today.

Adam (3) was killed and his mother Queenie left badly injured after being struck by a car driven by the Donegal man on Boxing Day.

Mr Montgomery was later found dead at a quarry in Donemana.

The Dean of St Eunan's Cathedral, the Very Rev John Hay, today described the two deaths as a "tragedy among friends".

He added: "Jonathan was a gentle giant and a member of the local boy scouts who had achieved the chief scout award.

"He had a good relationship with Adam's parents and with the children. He never missed giving them sweets and they looked forward to his visits.

"That relationship has withstood this tragedy. The families have cried together and comforted each other."

Dean Hay said he planned to call from the pulpit today for all adults to provide a stronger support network for youths.

He also called on young people to seek help if feeling suicidal.

"Suicide is giving our society a terrible time at present," he said.

"We all need to be open to young people to help them to cope with life. I want to say to the young people that things are never that bad that you can't go home, and you are never as alone as you think you are."

Dean Hay added: "Young life is full of relationships and people watch the TV series 'Friends' but then sometimes the young people themselves feel like they have no friends.

"Most of us are afraid of dying but these young people have become afraid of living."

Ms Mullen, meanwhile, was discharged from hospital in a wheelchair to attend her son's funeral.

Adam's small blue coffin was followed by hundreds of mourners before the service at St Mary's Church.

Mr Montgomery's burial was due to take place at Rathmullen Church of Ireland.

He is survived by his parents and siblings Nicola (19) and Maurice (12).