Leeds & West Yorkshire

Gareth Huntley: Missing backpacker funeral held in Leeds

Gareth Huntley Image copyright AFP
Image caption Gareth Huntley's body was found on Tioman Island, Malaysia, where he had been working as a wildlife volunteer

The funeral of a backpacker whose body was found eight days after he was believed to have gone on a trek through the Malaysian jungle has been held.

Gareth Huntley's body was discovered on Tioman Island in June 2014 close to the Juara Turtle project, where he had been living and working as a volunteer.

A post-mortem examination revealed no external injuries and the cause of his death has never been discovered.

The funeral for Mr Huntley, from north London, was held at Leeds Minster.

Mr Huntley's mother, Janet Southwell, from Bradford, said she had been "in limbo" since his death as she waited for an answer as to how her son died.

"It's a year yesterday since he was found. It's been a horrendous year, it's so difficult to function and get on with normal everyday things," she said.

"I have not been able to grieve yet. Normally a funeral will take place within a couple of weeks then you can grieve, that just hasn't happened."

An inquest into Mr Huntley's death is due to be held in Malaysia later this month.

Mrs Southwell said: "It's frustrating, it's distressing, it just prolongs the agony that we still have no answers."

Image caption Mr Huntley's funeral was held at Leeds Minster

Writing in the order of service his family and friends said: "Thank you for sharing your love, smiles, jokes and laughs, your encouragement, advice and words of wisdom. In our hearts you will always remain. You will be deeply missed for the rest of our lives."

Mr Huntley had been volunteering at the turtle project before starting a new job in Singapore.

Following his disappearance on 27 May a major search operation involving up to 100 people was launched.

His body was found in a pond within 300ft (91m) of the Juara Turtle project.

He was identified after Mrs Southwell flew to Malaysia to provide a DNA sample.

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