7,000 turn out to pay their respects to Mickey’s gem

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THOUSANDS of mourners gathered at the Harte family home over the weekend to pay their respects to the beautiful young bride who was murdered on her honeymoon.

27-year-old Michaela McAreavey, who married her sweetheart just three weeks ago, was found dead in her hotel room in Mauritius.

Her husband John, along with the widower’s brother Brian and Michaela’s brother Mark, made the long and painful journey back to her beloved Tyrone on Friday.

Many hundreds gathered on the roadside to pay their respects as the cortege made its final journey home.

The newly-married Irish teacher was buried in her wedding dress, a reminder of how tragic the past week has been.

Among the thousands of mourners attending the wake on Saturday and Sunday included senior political leaders First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

The Catholic primate, Cardinal Sean Brady also visited the Harte family home outside the small village of Ballygawley.

The affect of Michaela’s death has been felt right across the county as many people try to come to terms with her tragic murder.

Temporary marquees and a park-and-ride facility were put in place to cater for the large numbers of mourners that descended on the home of Michaela’s parents’.

Dozens of volunteer stewards, mostly from the GAA in Tyrone, were on hand to provide guidance to the thousands who turned out to pay their final respects to the young bride.

It was reported that approximately 7,000 people visited the wake over the two days, while many people had a two and a half hour wait to get into the Harte home.