A Belfast undertaker who offered to pay for the funeral of tragic Newtownabbey man Dean McIlwaine has said he felt “duty bound” to help in whatever way he could.
Stephen McCosh, who is based on the Shankill Road, wanted to ease the heartbroken family’s burden by allowing them to come to terms with Dean’s death, without the added stress of making funeral arrangements.
It is understood the family has accepted Mr McCosh’s offer.
Hundreds of volunteers had joined police in searches for 22-year-old Dean after the popular barber went missing on July 13.
But it ended in heartbreak on Saturday when his body was discovered by friends during a search at Cave Hill.
Mr McCosh told the News Letter he was deeply touched by the plight of the McIlwaine family.
The west Belfast funeral director added: “I am a parent myself, and I cannot imagine the anguish his mother and father must be going through at the minute. To have their beloved son missing for 10 days, and then to get that terrible news.
“I do not know Dean’s family, I am a total stranger to them. But I tried to put myself in their shoes and I wanted to do something to help.
“It just so happens that my job would help them in this situation, and I felt duty bound to offer my services to them without any charge.
“Nothing can take their pain away, but this will at least allow them to focus on grieving for their son.”
The date of Dean’s funeral has yet to be confirmed.