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Last Updated: Monday, 22 September, 2003, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Final farewell for O'Malleys
Tony and Linda O'Malley
It was six months before Tony and Linda O'Malley were found
Relatives and friends of a couple from north Wales murdered whilst house-hunting in Spain have paid their last respects.

St Mark's Church in Saltney, Chester, was packed for the funeral of Anthony and Linda O'Malley, more than a year after the pair set off from their house in Llangollen to search for the retirement home of their dreams on the Costa Blanca.

About 400 people attended the service which was led by tributes from Anthony's brother Bernard O'Malley, and Mrs O'Malley's daughter Nicola Welch.

The bodies of Anthony, who was 42, and his wife, 55, were found in March 2003, buried in the cellar of a house near the coastal resort of Benidorm.

They were discovered six months after the couple, who were originally from Liverpool, first disappeared.

The trial is going to be difficult, but it is the intention of both sides of the family to be there
Mr O'Malley's brother Bernard

Two South American men are awaiting trial for the murders.

The release of their bodies a few weeks ago by a judge in the town of Alcoy ended months of anguish for their families and allowed them finally to go ahead with planning the funeral.

Speaking before the funeral to BBC Wales, Mrs Welch said: "It's just nice to know that they are home where they belong - with their families."

"Now we are going to give them the send-off which they deserve."

Mrs Welch said waiting for the bodies to be flown back had been frustrating, but the family realised the delays were necessary.

'Understanding'

"It has been difficult, but we knew the reasons, because North Wales Police were liaising with us all along the way," she explained.

"The judge in Alicante needed to make sure everything was dealt with, so that when the trial comes about, there are no problems.

"The waiting hurt, but we had to be understanding."

For Mr O'Malley's brother Bernard, the fact that the tragedy happened so far away had made things harder for the family.

"It's been frustrating right from the start," he said. It was really difficult when they were missing for six months, not knowing what had happened.

Villa where their bodies were found
Their bodies were found in the villa's cellar
"There were times when we thought we were never going to find out what happened.

"But the family, from the very outset, said it would work together. We've all been strong and, in fact, it has brought the family a lot closer together."

Mr O'Malley said everyone had felt the strain, but they had somehow found the strength to cope.

"There is no blueprint for what you do and how you do it," he explained. "You have your own life to lead, but you live with it constantly - every hour of the day it's there."

With the murder trial in the near future, the family now has another emotional hurdle to cross.

"The trial is going to be difficult, but it is the intention of both sides of the family to be there," he said.

"We feel it's our duty to go. We have faith in the Spanish justice system. We've been informed that for murder you would be sentenced to 20 years - and in Spain you serve 20 years.

"I hope that they get 20 years on 20 years for the double murder - and that they die in jail."




SEE ALSO:
Spain murder: bodies returned
05 Sep 03  |  North East Wales
Trial wait in O'Malley case
03 Apr 03  |  Wales
Murdered couple asphyxiated
28 Mar 03  |  Wales
Two quizzed over couple murders
27 Mar 03  |  Wales


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