Parents bid farewell to murdered Rory

Last updated at 11:48 16 September 2005

The grieving parents of murdered schoolboy Rory Blackhall paid a moving tribute today to their "William Wallace" at his funeral.

Michelle and Russell Blackhall fought to keep their composure as they recounted precious memories of Rory's childhood and praised their "wonderful" son.

Primary school teacher Michelle and company director Russell said the death of the patriotic 11-year-old had left a huge chasm in the family.

His voice breaking with emotion, Mr Blackhall compared Rory to legendary Scots Braveheart hero Wallace and said: "I miss him so much. My life will not be the same again.

"Rory, my son, had passion, strength and gave so

much to other people.

"There is no question in my mind that Rory would have been a good, strong and compassionate man, partner and father.

"To me, he is my William Wallace.

"I hope I can be half the man he would have been."

The words prompted tears among many of those packed into the ceremony in the Howden Park Centre, Livingston, West Lothian.

Rory's parents made their poignant tributes in separate eulogies.

They stood within feet of Rory's coffin, which was draped in a saltire and topped with a bouquet of thistles.

Around 300 mourners, all wearing tartan at the family's request, crammed into the 200-capacity centre or stood outside to say their final goodbyes to the popular pupil and celebrate his life.

Among those at the service was Detective Superintendent Bert Swanson, the officer heading the inquiry.

Rory was murdered after failing to turn up for school at Meldrum Primary in Livingston, on August 18.

His body was found in woodland three days later, covered by a tattered tent. A post-mortem examination showed later he had been asphyxiated.

The schoolboy's funeral comes just two days after prosecutors revealed prime suspect Simon Harris, 37, would have been charged with murder had he not been found hanged.

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