Community devastated after sudden death of ‘gentle’ Jake

Jake Murphy who died on Sunday night.
Jake Murphy who died on Sunday night.

The wider Shantallow community has been left deeply saddened after the sudden death of 11 year-old schoolboy Jake Murphy on Sunday night.

The schoolboy, who had just finished his primary seven year at Steelstown PS, took seriously ill during an incident close to a building site at Bradley’s Pass shortly after 8pm.

He was pronounced dead a short time later at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Yesterday morning a bunch of flowers marked the scene of the tragedy and a Facebook page set up in Jake’s memory had already garnered more than 2,000 supporters at the time of going to press last night.

SDLP Councillor for the area Shaun Gallagher described the death as “an awful tragedy for the Murphy family and for the whole community”.

“There is a sense of shock and loss in the area,” he said. “We are just at the start of the school holidays and to have such a tragedy unfold on our doorsteps is devastating.

“My heartfelt sympathies go out this morning to the Murphy family and I know the community as a whole echo those sentiments.”

Sinn Féin Councillor for the area Tony Hassan added: “There is shock in the local community on hearing this tragic news.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.”

The Principal of Steelstown Primary School, Deirdre Gillespie paid tribute to the schoolboy who she described as “friendly, gentle and well mannered”.

“He had just completed his primary 7 year in Steelstown and was highly thought of by all the staff and his peers within the school.

“The thoughts and prayers of the whole school community are with his parents, Peter and Leona and with his four sisters at this very difficult time,” Mrs Gillespie said.

Paying tribute to Jake on Facebook, his cousin Daryl O’Donaill wrote: “I just want to say thanks to the police, ambulance and the two women who tried to help my wee cuz tonight, and anybody else who tried to help save his life.

“So heart breaking that my wee fishing buddy died the night.

“He was only 11 and had his whole life to live... sleep tight Jake, love ya loads wee man.”

Jake will be laid to rest on Thursday following Requiem Mass at St. Joseph’s Church Galliagh.

He is survived by his parents Peter and Leona and his sisters Orla, Aíne, Rita and Eve.

Police have confirmed they are not treating Jake’s death as suspicious but that enquiries into the incident are still ongoing.