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Jonathon ‘JJ’ McPhillips: Mum Michelle leads 300 through streets of Islington for funeral of ‘my baby boy’

PUBLISHED: 15:54 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53 31 March 2017

Sean and Michelle McPhillips carry the coffin of Jonathan 'JJ' McPhillips around Milner Square. Picture: Polly Hancock

Sean and Michelle McPhillips carry the coffin of Jonathan 'JJ' McPhillips around Milner Square. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

Jonathon “JJ” McPhillips was given a huge Islington send-off today.

Family members greet and hug JJ's partner, Kennedy Parker, outside the family home in Milner Square as mum Michelle McPhillips watches on. Picture: Polly Hancock Family members greet and hug JJ's partner, Kennedy Parker, outside the family home in Milner Square as mum Michelle McPhillips watches on. Picture: Polly Hancock

Dad-of-two JJ, 28, was stabbed to death in Upper Street last month.

Earlier this week, his mum Michelle told the Gazette she wanted the “whole of Islington” to see his funeral – with his killer still at large.

And she pretty much got her wish as 300 friends and relatives flooded in to Upper Street for his procession before a service at St Mary’s Church.

If anything, the procession was at least heard by the whole of Islington. Just before it got to the church, motorbike-riding friends of JJ joined the funeral car bearing his coffin. They blasted their horns non-stop, to the delight of the crowd. JJ was a huge motorbike enthusiast.

JJ's coffin is led on a procession around Milner Square by a piper and Rev Simon Harvey. Picture: Polly Hancock JJ's coffin is led on a procession around Milner Square by a piper and Rev Simon Harvey. Picture: Polly Hancock

The service moved on to Islington Crematorium in East Finchley, where Michelle said: “Without you, I’m empty. You were my everything. There’s nothing left for me.

“From your first breath to your last, you were and always will be my everything. This world is an empty place without you. I love you, my baby boy. Rest peacefully.”

The day started outside the family home in Milner Square where JJ grew up.

The coffin was carried for a lap round the square, with Michelle taking the first shift. She was replaced by Kennedy Parker – JJ’s partner of 10 years who gave birth to his two daughters – and other relatives.

Hundreds of mourners follow JJ's coffin around Milner Square. Picture: Polly Hancock Hundreds of mourners follow JJ's coffin around Milner Square. Picture: Polly Hancock

Neighbours stood at their front doors to pay their respects. All the while, a man played bagpipes in the square’s play area where JJ would play as a child.

The coffin procession, which was followed by a crowd of 200, moved into Milner Place where a tearful Michelle carried her son one last time before the coffin was placed in the funeral car.

Friends and relatives were greeted by Coldplay’s “Yellow” as they entered the church, just down the road from where he received the fatal wound.

Kennedy’s words were read out to the service: “We had so many plans to make, but I will make sure they are fulfilled. I loved you from the day we got together and have never stopped loving you.

Hundreds of mourners follow JJ's coffin around Milner Square into Milner Place. Picture: Polly Hancock Hundreds of mourners follow JJ's coffin around Milner Square into Milner Place. Picture: Polly Hancock

“Watch over our two little beauties [Lexi, aged four, and Evie, two] from up there.”

JJ was stabbed outside the town hall in the early hours of February 25. It is thought he was trying to intervene in a fight. He collapsed outside Be at One bar, and died three days later having sustained irreversible brain damage following cardiac arrests.

And in a powerful speech, Dean Donaghey told the church: “I measured the distance [between where JJ was stabbed and where he collapsed]. It was 270 steps.

“That’s 270 steps with a fatal wound. That’s 270 steps of willingness. That’s 270 steps of determination to live. That’s 270 steps for himself and his family.

Mourners, led by Michelle McPhillips, follow the hearse through Therberton Street as it makes its way to St Mary's Church. Picture: Polly Hancock Mourners, led by Michelle McPhillips, follow the hearse through Therberton Street as it makes its way to St Mary's Church. Picture: Polly Hancock

“That was Jonathon James McPhillips. A true warrior.”

Four people have been arrested over JJ’s killing, but no one has been charged.

And Rev Simon Harvey, who conducted the service, said in his funeral notes: “JJ McPhillips was killed in Upper Street, at a time when thousands of people were here for the evening. It’s hard to accept that the reason no one has been charged is because people who know what happened that night have not come forward.

“So I remind everyone that grieving does not end with a funeral. For JJ’s family, the wounds of bereavement will never completely heal. They need our compassion and support.

The cortege is joined by motorcyclists in Upper Street on its way to St Mary's Church. Picture: Polly Hancock The cortege is joined by motorcyclists in Upper Street on its way to St Mary's Church. Picture: Polly Hancock

“But they also need justice. I appeal to anyone who knows anything about this appalling killing to share that information with the police.”

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 020 8345 3775 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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