A BROTHER of a man whose death in Ballymena is being treated as murder has paid a tearful tribute to him at his funeral service, saying: “He was a good-hearted kind person who would give you his last penny”.
Robin ‘Rab’ McMaster (40), was found dead at Devenagh Court last Thursday and police launched a murder investigation.
He was laid to rest on Tuesday after a Service of Thanksgiving at Logan’s Funeral Home in Ahoghill and his funeral cortege passed his old school – Fourtowns Primary – on the way to a cemetery in the village.
At the service, brother Richard choked back tears as he paid tribute to Robin.
Richard told the congregation he had many memories of “good times” with Robin.
He explained that one Sunday, around four or five years ago, Robin: “gave his life to The Lord” and said the Service was “not about saying goodbye”.
In what was believed to be a reference to Robin being a big fan of Ballymena United, Richard said his brother’s favourite song was ‘Fluffy Sheep’.
A sky blue and white flag, the colours of Ballymena, was draped over Robin’s coffin.
And the congregation was told that as a mark of respect to Robin, his fellow Ballymena fans were due to hold a minute’s applause in the 40th minute – to mark his age – at a cup game against Linfield at Ballymena Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
Later on Tuesday it was announced the match was postponed because of bad weather.
At the Funeral Service, Pastor Darren Pearson from Green Pastures Church in Galgorm read out a touching tribute verse from Robin’s mum Lorraine.
Mr Pearson told how Robin had gone to Fourtowns Primary, then Cullybackey High School and during his school days was often regarded as a ‘star pupil’ before going on to Seven Towers Training Centre and becoming an apprentice painter and decorator.
He then worked in O’Kane’s poultry plant in Ballymena and Gibson paving contractors and loved doing painting ‘homers’.
Due to being epileptic Robin had to give up work in his 30s which had “really upset” him, Mr Pearson said.
The pastor said Robin’s kind nature shone through and in recent weeks he had been helping to care for his uncle Tommy who had fallen ill.
For a time, said Mr Pearson, Robin’s mum Lorraine, who now lives in Gracehill, had lived near to her son at Devenagh Court and he would have run errands for her and made dinner for her and brought it round to her house.
“He cared deeply for them (his family), was always there and he will be sorely missed,” said Mr Pearson.
Added the pastor: “Robin was a quiet man; he kept himself to himself. He was very kind, generous and funny; he loved life.
“He was also a joker; he was up for a laugh”.
Mr Pearson said Robin was also a good neighbour to those who lived beside him at Devenagh Court.
He added: “He supported his beloved Ballymena United, home and away, and just loved to go and watch them through the good times and the bad times.”
Robin was son of Rab and Lorraine, stepson of the late Alec Black, sibling of Richard, William, Lindsey, Wendy and Irene and dad to Megan and Ella.
Last Thursday, Detective Chief Inspector Peter McKenna, said: “The death was reported to us at 3pm this afternoon. A post mortem examination has yet to take place but, at this time, I am treating this as murder.
“A 53-year-old woman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody at this time.”
On Friday police announced the suspect had been released on bail pending further enquiries ahead of the post mortem on Saturday but that the woman was subsequently re-arrested and charged with fraud by false representation to appear at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Saturday.
A PSNI spokesman told ‘Ballymena Daily’ on Tuesday: “A post mortem has taken place. Police enquiries are continuing.”