August 4, 1999
Killing of Bennett was cruel act of savagery
By Clare Murphy, in Belfast
Several hundred mourners attending the funeral Mass of Mr Charles Bennett
(22), who was shot dead in what police called a paramilitary-style
execution, heard his killing described as "a cruel act of wanton savagery"
Father Patrick Devlin, celebrant of yesterday's Mass in St Patrick's Church
in Belfast, said Mr Bennett's killers had left his body in a laneway and
run off like cowards. "Charles's cold and callous murder has thrown us back
into the bitter and painful memories of a black yesteryear," he said.
Family and friends followed the hearse from the Bennett home on Upper
Meadow Street in North Belfast. Flower arrangements beside the coffin spelt
out Charles Bennett's nickname, Chucky, another read "Nephew".
Mr Bennett's mother, Betty, died from cancer three months ago. "At least
they had the consolation that she died a dignified and peaceful death,
surrounded by those she loved - a death Charles was not allowed. His was a
death surrounded only by fear, by violence and by evil," added Father
In his address before Mr Bennett's body was taken for burial at Belfast
City cemetery, the Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Anthony
Farquhar, paid tribute to the Bennett family.
"No matter how self-evident the goodness of the Bennett family may be - and
that is beyond debate - even if that were not the case, it is still an
absolute that noone has the right to carry out the deed that was
perpetrated on Friday morning. What we have seen is evil and that evil is
Dr Farquhar said such evil should in no way be related to the effect it may
have on an everchanging political situation. "For those who claim the name
of Jesus Christ there is only one peace process, the process which is based
on the principles of Jesus - love God and love your neighbour as yourself."
Security sources said yesterday that Mr Bennett, a part-time taxi driver,
was killed by members of the Provisional IRA. He appears to have been
detained for four days before being shot twice in the head around 1 a.m. on
Present at yesterday's funeral were the Sinn Féin councillor for North
Belfast, Mr Mick Conlon, and the former leader of the IRA in the Maze
prison, Mr 'Bik' McFarland.