Derry colleagues of the wife of murdered prison officer David Black last night sent a message of support to the widow.
Yvonne Black, who works as a district nurse in Derry, was said by a family friend to be “shattered” following the shooting dead of her 52 year-old husband in a suspected dissident republican paramilitary ambush.
A spokesperson from the Western Trust said last night: “Yvonne is a very valued and respected member of nursing staff and we would want to convey our deepest sympathies to her and her family at this extremely difficult time.”
Mr Black, who lived with his wife and two children Kyle and Kyra in Cookstown, is to be laid to rest today.
It is the second tragedy Mrs Black has had to contend with in the past year, following the death of her father in a farming accident last November.
No grouping has yet claimed responsibility for last Thursday morning’s shooting on the M1.
Family minister Rev Tom Greer described David as a “lovely guy” and a “real gentleman”. “He was devoted to his wife, his family, his parents, and someone we loved and valued as a member of our church in Molesworth Presbyterian.
“The huge majority of people in this area will rally round the Black family and their hearts will go out to them and send their sympathy to them at this time of grave loss.”
He appealed for no retaliation “from any quarter”. Meanwhile, Deputy First Minister McGuinness will not attend today’s funeral after Mr Black’s family declined the Sinn Fein politician’s offer to go.