This morning’s service in church was all about Melita. It could hardly be about anything or anyone else, really; the church was packed out – even moreso than at the previous week’s Harvest service – with so many trying to come to grips with the senseless, brutal tragedy in our midst.
The local police community liason officer brought reassuring news to a congregation looking for answers: 5 arrests have already been made in connection with Melita’s murder – all of them local homeless vagrants. They are still trying to establish a motive however; they also wish to speak to two men who were seen running away from the church yard at about 11:15pm on the night of Monday 29th September. Anyone who may have seen or heard anything is urged to call Chingford CID on 020 8345 3985, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Following the service, we gathered outside for a 15-minute vigil for peace and an end to violence, in memory of Melita. We were joined by local MP Neil Gerrard, the Right Reverend David Hawkins (Bishop of Barking), and the mayor of Walthamstow, as well as several local residents and a catholic priest from one of the other local churches Melita frequented. We joined together in the Lord’s Prayer and a prayer for peace, and then white flowers were laid on Melita’s bench until it, and the ground surrounding it, were covered in a blanket of white beneath the rain. We shared biscuits together, according to Filipino custom, before departing beneath a dark, rainfilled sky.
We do not yet know where or when the funeral will take place; the authorities are trying to trace Melita’s two adult children, and of course there is the murder inquiry which is ongoing. It could be quite some time before Melita is finally laid to rest – the funeral of CJ Hendricks, who was fatally stabbed back in August, finally took place this Friday, so it could be a couple of months yet.