Northern Ireland news

Family and close friends to gather today for funeral of 'sweet girl' Patrycja Wyrebek (20)

Friends of Patrycja Wyrebek gathered at a vigil in her memory at Belfast Castle. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE body of Patrycja Wyrebek yesterday returned to her family in north Belfast, five days after the 20-year-old was found dead in her Newry home.

Friends gathered at Belfast Castle in a vigil for the "sweet girl" as her remains were brought to the family home she had shared with her mother Iwona and younger sister Maja at Farringdon Gardens in the Ardoyne area.

Requiem Mass will be held at Holy Cross Church at 10am today, with only family and "a group of close friends" attending.

Her grieving mother asked "everyone who wants to say goodbye to Patrycja... (to) do it on Friday at home", asking other friends and neighbours to "please respect our decision, please follow the safety rules".

Ms Wyrebek's body was found at her house in Drumalane Park in Newry on Sunday morning.

Her partner Dawid Lukasz Mietus (23) has been charged with her murder.

Former schoolmates from Mercy College in the Ballysillan area gathered in the rain at Belfast Castle yesterday to mourn their friend, carrying her picture and floral tributes.

"She was our girl, she was so sweet," said Tuscanee Bricknell, originally from New Zealand, who joined the school in 2014 at the same time as Ms Wyrebek.

Leah White, who organised the vigil and asked that the friends wear the white and red of the Polish flag in her memory, said she would not be forgotten.

"She was quiet, never said much, but when she did it was really profound. She just wanted to figure it out - what she wanted for herself after we left school in 2018.

"She kept to herself the reasons why she moved here for a better life six years ago.

"We didn't see her as much after we left school in 2018 and she moved to Newry but we kept in touch and she was always one of us and always will be."

Holy Cross Girls primary school principal Maura McNally said staff and parents were "saddened by the news of the death of Patrycja Wyrebek, sister of our P4 pupil, Maja", with she and her mother being "a close part of our school family for years and have been held in great affection by our staff, parents and children".

"We send our love and prayers to them," she wrote on the school's Facebook page.

"I have spoken to Iwona to let her know that we are thinking of her family at this very difficult time. May God bless them and help them through their sadness."

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