A GRIEVING mother has paid a moving tribute to her son whose body was swept up on a beach after a near year-long disappearance.
Thousands of people played their part in a search for Michael Murphy, 32, who was last seen leaving the Convatec factory on Deeside Industrial Park on Wednesday, January 4.
But the body of Mr Murphy, of Connah’s Quay, was discovered on the coastline at West Kirby, Wirral, last Tuesday.
Yesterday his mother Ann Murphy, 57, visited the fateful spot to lay flowers.
She told the Leader: “I’m sure we’ll start grieving soon, but for now we’re still in shock.
“We’ve been in limbo for so long, so it’s difficult to come to terms with what has happened.
“The not knowing was the worst thing in the world. I’ve barely slept for all this time.
“But it’s a relief in some way. At least now we know he is dead, although we still don’t know how or why he died.
“At least we can lay him to rest.”
Mrs Murphy learned last Wednesday that a body had been discovered and had a ‘gut feeling’ it was her son.
An initial Home Office post-mortem examination proved inconclusive, but a subsequent test of bone DNA carried out in Oxford proved positive.
The tragic news was broken to the family on Monday night.
Mrs Murphy, who lives in Victory Court, Mold, with husband Julian Shirley, 60, said: “We had a knock on the door at about 4.30pm and I knew straight away what it would be.
“This week has just been horrific. I just felt like I couldn’t breathe.”
Mrs Murphy, who was a Welsh teacher at John Summers High School in Queensferry from 1999-2009, began treatment for depression after her son’s disappearance.
She said: “Mike was just somebody who lived life to the full.
“He was always making me laugh and telling me he loved me.
“He wore his heart on his sleeve.
Arsenal fan Mr Murphy was educated at Southdown Primary School in Buckley and later at Argoed High School, Mynydd Isa, Mold.
He began working for Convatec at the age of 17.
Mr Murphy is also survived by brother Jac, 23, a MSc student at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, and sister Joanna, 22, from Greenfield.
Jac said: “He was more of a dad than a brother to me. I just wanted to be like him.
“He was the one who inspired me to take up my degree.”
Sister Joanna, who was a member of the Royal Logistics Core for more than a year, said: “He was so determined not for people to just talk about things, but for them to actually pursue them.
“He was the one who pushed me to join the army.
“He used to call me up and say ‘Hello, hello, hello,’ which made me laugh.”
Joanna, who has a three-year-old daughter Kaitlyn, and her mother have just completed a National Childminding Association course in Wrexham and are now preparing to begin a paediatric first aid course.
Mr Murphy was particularly close to his aunts Peggy Murphy, a senior nursing lecturer at Glyndwr University, Wrexham, and Krista Childs, who represents the Coedpoeth ward on Wrexham Council, and her sons Mark, 30, and Tim, 25.
Cllr Childs said: “Mike brought joy to our hearts.
“He had an almost permanent smile on his face, and would drive you to distraction.
“The waiting has been absolute torture.
“At least we have answers now.”
A spokesman for Merseyside Police said: “The matter has been referred to the coroner.
“Merseyside Police would like to thank those that came forward following their appeal for information last week.”
An inquest into Mr Murphy’s death is expected to be opened today.