Family and friends of tragic Sunderland dad Freddie Stacey hope he is finally at peace after he was laid to rest.
The beloved father and grandfather passed away earlier this month without seeing his son’s murderer jailed.
Freddie was clinging to life in an induced coma when Karen Tunmore was jailed for life for the murder of his son Scott Pritchard in January 2004 - a crime Freddie was wrongly charged with committing more than a decade ago.
Today, his distraught friends and family members gathered to say a final goodbye and pay their respects at St Ignatius’ Church, in Hendon.
A floral tribute from his children read: “Dad, we can’t believe you’ve left us, we love you so much and we will miss your jokes and tall tales. You were our hero and always will be.”
Mourners comforted one another as they listened to The Prayer by Andrea Bocelli and Céline Dion while remembering happier times with the 66-year-old.
Father Andrew Collins-Jones, who led the service, said: “We remember all that was good about his life. A life which was very colourful life because Freddie, I‘m told, was something of a lady’s man.
“He grew up here in Hendon and in his early days I’ve been told his cousin Valarie was a very important part of his life and indeed she remained so right to the end.
“What Freddie really enjoyed doing was taking photographs. He always had a camera with him and now there are thousands and thousands of photographs for his family.
“He was a real joker and enjoyed a laugh with his friends.”
He added: “What mattered most to Freddie were his children, his grandchildren, his great grandchildren, his family.
“As I’ve spoken to members of his family, they’ve spoken to me about what a good father he was to them. Always putting their needs first.
“There were, as we all know, very dark times in Freddie’s life.
“When those dark times came, there helping him face them were relatives and friends, many of you who are here today, who stood by him.
“And that made all the difference to Freddie and enabled him to carry on.”
His son Scott, 19, was murdered outside his Hendon home 14 years ago.
And a year later - while his killer was still at large - police suspicions turned to Freddie who was later charged of his murder.
An innocent Freddie always denied the charges which were dropped before a trial began at Newcastle Crown Court.
His family say he was driven to years of heavy drinking after losing his son and also being branded his killer.
During the funeral service, mourners joined together to sing The Lord’s My Shepherd before leaving the church to Time to Say Goodbye.
The congregation followed as Freddie’s coffin was carried out of the church and placed in a car with white flowers, decorated with yellow roses, which spelled Freddie.
Another floral tribute from his daughters, Charlie Hellens, Aimee Stacey and Kimberley Pratt, reads: “Dad, you were our life. We don’t know what to do without you. We hope you’re at peace now.”