Family’s thanks for support of local community after river tragedy

Joby’s family won’t give up search

By Kieran Hughes

The family of Joby Murphy will continue to search the River Lagan for his remains despite the scaling back of the official search. The Glengormley man is presumed dead after falling into the river in the early hours of Thursday, January 26 after a night out at a concert in the Odyssey arena.

The family of the 20-year-old barman, who was originally from Newington, held their final vigil at the Lagan Lookout Visitors Centre on Friday (February 10) after waiting and praying there since he fell.

Speaking to the North Belfast News this week Joby’s dad Joe Murphy said they will continue their own searches.

“We will be back on the water searching for him. They say the body can rise to the surface again and that is what we are hoping for. We know what he was wearing and we are just hoping to see something,” he said.

Police say that having completed a “rigorous check of the river environment” since Joby fell, “daily checks of the area will still be undertaken by vessels within the harbour and a further search operation will be initiated at the next low tide on Saturday, February 25.”

Meanwhile, Joe said his family were moved by the hundreds of people who attended the vigil last Friday.

Six hundred candles were lit and flowers scattered into the water, while prayers were said by St Mary’s on the Hill parish priest Fr John Forsythe.

“We have had so much support, the amount of people who have been coming up and shaking my hand has been amazing.”

Sinn Féin councillor for Newington Conor Maskey was at Friday night’s vigil.

“It was a very poignant vigil on Friday night in memory of Joby in terms of trying, through hope and prayer, to will the water to give him back to his family,” he said. “I am sure the family were extremely heartened by the amount of people who attended and I was proud to witness the best of the North Belfast community at the vigil. Like everyone else I am praying for his body to be found.”

The family will be praying again for Joby at a special service at Holy Family Church in Newington tomorrow (Friday, 6.30pm). Everyone is welcome.

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