The mother of schoolboy Brooklyn Colbert has paid a heartbreaking tribute to her beloved "brown-eyed boy" at his funeral mass in Limerick.
The letter was read out at St Saviour's Church, on behalf Sonia Aylmer.
It described how 11-year-old Brooklyn had been blessed with the "softest little protective soul".
His body was found with multiple injuries at a house in Ballynanty, Limerick last Sunday.
As Brooklyn's family made preparations to shoulder his white coffin into the church, a man appeared in court nearby and charged with his murder.
St Saviour's fell silent as Ms Aylmer's words, read by a friend, echoed around the packed church.
The letter read: "My beautiful brown-eyed boy, from the minute you were born you made my life complete.
"The happiest little child: from the minute you opened your eyes in the morning you would smile - you were a little fighter.
"When God tried to take you when you were nine-months-old, you pulled through.
"You were mine and your father's little miracle.
"From the minute you could walk, you would dance all over the house like a professional hip-hop star.
"You were the biggest snearer, always making me and everyone around you laugh.
"All of your friends adored you and looked up to you.
"You had the softest little protective soul, always looking out for them - and as for me, you were my best friend, my mini-husband - we did everything together".
She also talked about his love of animals, remarking: "If you'd seen anything sad about animals in a movie, you would have tears down your face".
"Please watch over me and your father, and give us the strength to live without you".
"Sleep tight, my love - I love with all my heart. I will see you soon and I will hold you in my heart forever".
Brooklyn's father Wayne - a well-known soccer player who played with Limerick FC, Athlone Town and Shamrock Rovers - also spoke.
Through emotion in his voice, he said: "Brook, I loved every day we spent together.
"You weren't just my son, you were my best mate - and my training partner, my pride and joy.
"You made me the proudest father to see the boy you were".
"Brooklyn was a special boy that touched so many hearts, no one more than his nanna Terry - he was her favourite".
"No words can justify how he left this world, by pure evil, my boy was too good for this world.
"All he wanted was his soccer boots and ball - he always told me I want to be next Wayne Colbert".
Reporting by David Raleigh