Final farewell to tragic officer Ian

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The heartbroken family of a naval officer shot dead on a nuclear submarine fought back tears as they bid a final farewell at his funeral.

Hundreds of mourners gathered for the full military funeral of Lieutenant Commander Ian Molyneux, 36, who was shot on board his vessel HMS Astute.

A coffin draped in a union flag, and topped with a naval cap and single, red rose was carried into church by six colleagues from HMS Astute.

The former Leyland student’s wife Gillian was accompanied into church by eldest sons Jamie, 13, and 12-year-old Arron, dressed in military uniform, six-year-old daughter Bethany and youngest son Charlie, three, who wore a Wigan Warriors kit.

Royal Navy sailors in uniform, including many colleagues of Mr Molyneux, lined the streets outside as the funeral cortege arrived for the midday service.

He used to attend St Mary’s Catholic Technology College, in Royal Avenue, Leyland and had previously lived in Eccleston.

Father Andrew Jolly and Royal Navy Chaplain Andrew McFadden conducted the service at Sacred Heart RC Church, in Springfield, in Thursday, which was followed by a private burial.

The service, which was broadcast to mourners outside the church, included the hymn Colours of the Day, which Ian sang as an 11-year-old boy on Songs of Praise.

Phil Buckley, captain of the Faslane Flotilla, where HMS Astute is based, said: “Ian was a very gifted officer and had a great rapport with the crew. He was extremely professional and had an excellent understanding of technology.”

HMS Astute Commanding Officer Iain Breckenridge described Mr Molyneux as ‘a gentle giant’ with a ‘mischievous twinkle in his eye’.

Able Seaman Ryan Donovan, of Dartford, Kent, has been remanded in custody charged with the murder of Lt Molyneux.