They came to pay their respects to a mother and two youngsters whose lives were ended in the cruellest of circumstances.
Some young, some old, but all united in sorrow, people from across the community of Allerton Bywater gathered at St Mary’s Church yesterday (Feb 7) for a service remembering Geraldine Newman and her children, 11-year-old Shannon and six-year-old Shane.
All three were killed by the 51-year-old mother’s estranged husband Paul Newman and found at their home on Beeston Way last Tuesday.
The murders have stunned Allerton Bywater and yesterday’s (Feb 7) church service was organised to support residents as they try to deal with their raw feelings of grief and sadness.
The service was begun by the Rev Canon Rosemarie Hayes, who said she hoped it would help people “stand together after the tragic events of the last week”.
Prayers were said before candles were lit for Mrs Newman and her children in a simple show of faith and solidarity that warmed the heart on a cold and windy February afternoon.
One of the prayers was said by the Rev Viv Masters, who had earlier told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “We wanted to [hold the service] because the whole parish is still hurting and they just need time and space to grieve together.
“It might take a bit of time yet to come to terms with what has happened.”
Those attending the service included Kippax and Methley councillors Mary Harland, James Lewis and Keith Wakefield.
Flowers and other tributes including candles, balloons and children’s toys were yesterday still piled up outside the Newman family home.
One note read: “I love you all so much, thanks for all the support over the years, I won’t let you down I swear. I miss you all so much. Shannon, Shane, your futures were so bright.”
Another read: “You will always be in my heart and in my memories. I will remember all the times we spent together and smile.”
Mrs Newman worked as a shop manager for the Wilko chain. Shannon attended St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School while Shane went to St Joseph’s Catholic Primary.
Paul Newman, 42, travelled to north Wales following the killings and jumped to his death from cliffs at Anglesey.