Kettering Traveller funeral: case dropped against man accused of breaching Covid laws

More than 100 mourners gathered in the street

Monday, 19th April 2021, 1:44 pm
The procession on Bowling Green Road.

A man accused of breaching Covid laws over a huge funeral for his brother in Kettering will face no further criminal action.

Patrick James Rooney, 48, had been charged with breaking Covid regulations over the funeral of Corby Traveller Joe Rooney, known as 'Gypsy Joe', on November 9 last year.

But this afternoon at Northampton Magistrates' Court (Monday) the case was dramatically dropped by the CPS.

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Mourners outside the church.

On the morning of November 9 about 150 mourners turned out outside St Edward's Church off London Road to celebrate the life of Mr Rooney, 47, who died in a crash between Stanion and Geddington the previous month.

Horses and carriages with Irish flags led mourners through the town on their way to the crematorium to pay their respects, watched by police.

The gathering came days after England's second lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Under emergency restrictions at the time, individuals were only allowed to meet with one other person outdoors in a public place.

Police watched proceedings.

Rooney, of Greenacres in Market Harborough, was charged with participating in a gathering of two or more people in a public place last month before the case against him was withdrawn today.

Prosecutor Stella Moses said the CPS had taken the decision to withdraw the charge after a "careful review of the case".

The court heard Rooney had funded his own defence of the case privately and his costs will now be reimbursed through central funds.

Magistrates told Rooney there would be no further action in the case and thanked him for attending the hearing.

The funeral in Kettering.

In the days after the funeral Northamptonshire Police initially said they would be looking to issue their first £10,000 fine to the funeral's organiser.

They later revealed hundreds had later joined a wake in a field with a marquee as police installed roadblocks to close it off. About 60 officers were prepared in riot gear to break the party up, police said at the time.

The funeral in Kettering.