Kayleigh Haywood murder: Funeral held in Leicestershire

The funeral for teenager Kayleigh Haywood Image copyright PA
Image caption Hundreds of people lined the high street, in Measham, as a horse-drawn cortege made it's way for Kayleigh Haywood's funeral at St Laurence Church

The funeral for Kayleigh Haywood, who was murdered last year, has taken place in her home village in Leicestershire.

The 15-year-old, from Measham, who went missing last November, was found dead in a field, near Ibstock, after a five-day police search.

Her mother, Stephanie Haywood, said she "can't say goodbye" and was "broken hearted" on an online tribute page.

The Rev Canon Vivian Elphick, who led the service at St Laurence's Church, said the day would be "most difficult".

Two men have been charged in connection with Kayleigh's death and go on trial in June.

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Image copyright PA
Image caption Kayleigh was last seen when she was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College on Friday 13 November

Hundreds of mourners gathered for the funeral, in Measham, wearing something purple - Kayleigh's favourite colour. A private family service followed.

'Broken hearted'

Ms Haywood wrote on the page, hours before the service began: "I can't say goodbye as I will have you in my heart forever. You babe was my daughter, best friend and soul mate.

"I love you princess forever, ever love from your broken hearted mum."

At the scene: BBC News reporter Victoria Hicks

Image copyright PA
Image caption The cortege passed through Kayleigh's hometown of Measham

Purple bows tied to lamp-posts lined Kayleigh Haywood's journey along Measham's High Street to the parish church.

Her purple coffin was transported in a horse-drawn carriage with the words sister in flowers on one side and daughter on the other.

The funeral service heard tributes from her head teacher at Ashby School, her brothers and sisters, and her parents.

A private burial, attended only by her family, followed.

Canon Elphick said: "We can't begin to imagine what that's going to be like for them.

"For me the funeral is the last thing we can physically do for someone who has died.

"Therefore, it's really important that we get it right for the family and those closest to them, so all those things help people on a journey of saying farewell, which is a journey they didn't choose to be making and don't want to be making."

'Endearing memories'

Derek Mullan, the head teacher of Kayleigh's former primary school, was among those who paid tribute to her.

He said: "For the staff of the school, one of the most endearing memories was of Kayleigh's big smile as she bounded down the corridor first thing in the morning.

"She would have a cheery 'good morning' and staff would return the greeting."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Many tributes were left by members of the public

Eddie Green, head teacher of Ashby School, told the congregation that Kayleigh, who attended the school for more than a year, had been expected to pass all her GCSE subjects and had taken particular pride in her work in art.

"The whole of our school community has been saddened and touched by these tragic events, but the way in which they have pulled together has been quite remarkable."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Purple ribbons were draped across the gates of St Laurence's Church

Kayleigh was last seen when she was dropped off outside Ibstock Community College on Friday 13 November.

Over five days, police carried out extensive searches for the teenager in various areas in the county including Ibstock, Belton and Diseworth.

An inquest heard Kayleigh died from head and facial injuries.

Stephen Beadman, 28, of George Avenue, Ibstock, has been accused of murder and one count of rape.

A second man, Luke Harlow, 27, also of George Avenue, is charged with grooming and two counts of sexual activity with a child.

Both men go on trial in June at Nottingham Crown Court.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Kayleigh's body was found in a field, near Ibstock, after police carried out searches across the county over five days

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