The daughter of a county Armagh man murdered in cold blood says she lost her best friend the day he died.
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Marcell Seeley’s daughter said her father “will never see me grow up…or walk me down the aisle at my wedding.”
Mark Ward was handed a life sentence whereby he must serve at least 16 years before he is eligible for parole.
The statement read as follows: “My dad was murdered by Mark Ward when I was 15 years old.
“I never got to say goodbye to him. His coffin was closed due to the brutality of his death. This has had a devastating effect on my life.
“For the longest time, I pretended it wasn’t true. I’d never seen his body so how could it be? I know now that was just my mind protecting me from it all.
“My Dad and I were so alike in so many ways. We loved all the same movies, had the same taste in music and loved all the same types of food.
“My Dad was an amazing cook, he made me dinner two or three nights a week and we would spend our nights arguing over which movie to watch or laughing at our favourite comedian.
“All that is gone now. All I have in its place are the memories of our life we shared and the bond we had.
“He has been stolen from me and all that’s left in his place is the suffocating reality that is his absence.
“To say I miss him is such a huge understatement of the truth, it’s an insult to his memory.
“My dad meant everything to me. He made me feel safe and loved. He was my best friend. I’m a different person now since his death. I’m sad all the time.
“I’ve lost most of my friends because I can’t talk to anyone and I’m filled with this anger and resentment. I didn’t think I would be able to go to the trial, and for the most part I didn’t.
“My mum thought it would be too traumatising for me to go through. In the end, I did go for a few days of it. I wanted to be there for my dad, fighting his corner as he would have done for me.
“My Dad was a great father. He loved me truly and I loved him. He will never see me grow up, pass my driving test, graduate university or walk me down the aisle at my wedding.”
A Victim Impact Statement from Marcell’s sister Carrai Doran was also read out in court.
It read: “My brother Junior was a drinker that’s no secret. When he went on the drink he went away to his own flat and didn’t annoy anyone.
“Junior always came home when he had had enough. Junior had many friends who was always there to look after him. Junior was in his own flat when this happened, not out looking a fight or annoying anyone.
“Every time I close my eyes I can see Junior lying on his floor and that’s something that will always be with me.
“Brothers and sisters are meant to grow old together, to help look after their parents, to watch their children grow up together. My life feels as if it has frozen in time and that I had lost nearly two years of my life and my children’s life’s thinking about this and the court case.
“I know people say it gets easier with time but it really doesn’t. I feel as if Mark Ward has changed my life forever and there’s nothing that I can do about it.
“Junior’s daughters will never have their dad there to enjoy all their milestones (marrying, children). My life will never be the same and all I can say is that.”
A statement, released by Mr Seeley’s family following the sentencing read: “Marcell’s parents would like to thank all those involved in solving the brutal murder of their son.
“In particular, the lead detective in this case, his team, and the members of the Public Prosecution Service, who worked tirelessly to secure a successful prosecution.
“Not only did they do their job to the highest standard, the compassion they showed to our family during this heartbreaking time was much appreciated and will not be forgotten.
“The suffering our son endured, all alone, will haunt us forever. Junior (Marcell) was the light of our lives and the void his absence has left behind can never be filled. Our son loved with all his heart. He cared for those who could not care for themselves, despite enduring much heartache during his short life. He loved his children with all his heart. It beat only for them.
“Our son is gone now and his beautiful soul and warm infectious laugh have been taken away from us. We are forever broken and we will never recover.
“There are no words to convey our pain and suffering at his loss.”