US & Canada

Canada funeral for Barthe brothers killed by snake

Father Maurice Frenette talks with Mandy Trecartin and Andrew Barthe at the funeral for their sons Noah and Connor Barthe, 10 August, Campbellton, New Brunswick.
Image caption Father Maurice Frenette consoled parents Mandy Trecartin and Andrew Barthe

The funeral has been held in Canada of the two young boys who were killed by an escaped python as they slept at a friend's house above a pet shop.

A single casket bore Connor Barthe, six, and his four-year-old brother, Noah - as their parents wanted the "inseparable" boys buried together.

The priest said there was no way to express the pain and no way to prepare for such a service.

The boys were found dead on Monday morning in Campbellton, New Brunswick.

It was initially thought the 4.3m (14ft) serpent had escaped from its cage in the Reptile Ocean pet shop into a ventilation duct.

But it later emerged it had been kept as a pet in the apartment where the boys where staying. It broke free from its glass tank and fell through the ceiling into the living room where they were sleeping.

A post-mortem showed the boys had died of asphyxiation.

'Quick to laugh'

Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral at St Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Campbellton.

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Media captionThe pet shop owner said he wanted to kill the snake himself when he discovered what had happened

The eulogy paid tribute to Connor, the protective elder brother with his "huge bear hugs and smile", and Noah, who was quieter but was "quick to laugh out loud" and who dreamed of becoming a basketball player.

The priest, Father Maurice Frenette, said this was a time to console and not a time for answers to questions about the deaths, CBC reported.

Campbellton's Deputy Mayor Ian Comeau also said this was not a time to rush to judgement on what was a "difficult day" for friends and family.

A criminal investigation is under way but no charges have yet been filed.

On Wednesday, nearly 1,000 people attended a vigil in memory of the boys.

They were on a sleepover with their friend, the son of the shop owner, Jean-Claude Savoie. His son was in another room and was unharmed.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has expressed his condolences to the Barthe family.

He has pledged to review steps in the regulation of exotic pet shops.

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