PC Neil Doyle killing: Funeral for off-duty policeman

PC Neil Doyle's funeral Image copyright PA
Image caption PC Neil Doyle died on 19 December while he was on a work's Christmas night out

More than 400 mourners have paid their respects to an off-duty police officer who was killed in Liverpool.

PC Neil Doyle, 36, died and two of his colleagues were injured on a night out in the city centre on 19 December.

Within a floral tribute, his wife wrote: "Good night and God bless, babe. My heart is with you always. All my love, broken-hearted Sarah xxx".

The service was held at Liverpool Parish Church Our Lady and St Nicholas, where the couple got married last July.

They had been due to go on their honeymoon this month.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption PC Neil Doyle died of bleeding around the brain

Mr Doyle was on a Christmas night out when he was assaulted along with Michael Steventon and Robert Marshall, who were treated in hospital for facial injuries.

'Heartbreaking tragedy'

A post-mortem examination found the cause of Mr Doyle's death was bleeding around the brain.

Mourners including Jon Murphy, Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, and Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson stood in silence as the funeral cortege arrived with the fallen officer's police cap on top of his coffin.

Rev Canon Bob Lewis, who also presided at their wedding, said: "Only a few months ago at the very place where now he lies, she and Neil expressed their love as they exchanged their vows.

"It was, as they both wished, a wonderful, happy family moment shared by their friends and blessed by God."

He described Mr Doyle as an "outstanding young man" and a much loved husband, son, brother and friend. His wife even received sympathy cards from people he had arrested, praising how he had treated them.

Image caption Flowers from PC Neil Doyle's wife Sarah, who paid tribute to her husband

His widow had been left "raw" with grief over his "tragic and senseless" killing, mourners heard.

At the church

Phil Cooper, BBC News

They gathered in their hundreds to say goodbye. Not just police officers, but church-goers and people from a community still coming to terms with the loss of a young man. A young man who was a husband, son and brother, and a friend to so many.

The mourners stood silent as the coffin was carried inside, but there was applause as the procession left to the sound of a Green Day song, the words "I hope you had the time of your life" ringing around the church.

The Rev Canon Bob Lewis, who married Neil and Sarah at the church last year, said he "embodied within him the heart and soul of the city."

A written tribute from Neil's brother Greg was also read out: "So from my heart a sad farewell - it hurts to let you go. I'll miss your smile and also your touch in ways you will never know."

Image copyright PA
Image caption PC Neil Doyle's funeral service was held at Liverpool Parish Church Our Lady and St Nicholas
Image copyright PA
Image caption PC Neil Doyle's funeral service took place in the church in which he got married only months previously

Two men have been charged with Mr Doyle's murder and a third, Huyton man Timmy Donovan, has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of the same offence.

Andrew Taylor, 28, of Cherry Tree Road, Huyton, and Christopher Spendlove, 30, of Brandearth Hey, also in Huyton, have appeared in court accused of murder and two counts of causing grievous bodily harm.

On Wednesday, Mr Donovan, 30, was arrested as he tried to board a plane back to the UK at Dusseldorf Airport.

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