Brother’s heartbreak as murdered sister farewelled
MURDERED British backpacker Grace Millane was laid to rest by family and friends overnight
The 22-year-old was six weeks into a backpacking "trip of a lifetime" when she was killed in New Zealand.
The service - which her family titled "Grace's Day" - was held at Brentwood Cathedral in her home county of Essex.
Hundreds of mourners wore white ribbons in support of the White Ribbon Charity, which aims to stop domestic violence against women.
Her brother Declan yesterday posted a touching picture on Instagram of him, Grace and their older brother Michael which he captioned with a love heart emoji.
The post was met with thousands of likes and comments, wishing the family well on the day of Grace's funeral.
"We had an angel visit and her memory is with us always. Our hearts are so heavy, we feel your incredible grief and we are so sorry," one person wrote.
"Thinking of you all on this very sad day," another said.
"Grace a true beautiful princess who has touched us worldwide - she will never be forgotten."
A 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with her murder.
He will next appear in at Auckland's High Court on January 23.
Her devastated family said: "Grace went off to travel the world in mid-October and arrived in New Zealand on the 20th November.
"By the amount of pictures and messages we received, she clearly loved this country, its people and the lifestyle.
"We all hope that what has happened to Grace will not deter even one person from venturing out into the world and discovering their own overseas experience."
Calling the crime "heinous", the family also paid tribute to investigating officers for completing a "concise, stringent and thorough investigation".
They added: "We would like to thank the people of New Zealand for their outpouring of love, numerous messages, tributes and compassion.
"Grace was not born here and only managed to stay a few weeks but you have taken her to your hearts and in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi."
Police initially launched a missing person inquiry for the University of Lincoln graduate after her parents became concerned that she did not reply to birthday wishes sent on December 2.
The last confirmed sighting of Ms Millane was at 9.41pm on December 1, at the Citylife Hotel in Auckland, when she was seen with a "male companion".
A week later, on December 8, police said they were treating the case as a murder investigation and a day later a body was found in the Waitakere Ranges, west of Auckland, 10m from the road.
New Zealand's prime minister Jacinda Ardern gave an emotional apology to Grace's family.
"Your daughter should have been safe here, and she wasn't, and I'm sorry for that," she said.
"I cannot imagine the grief of her family and what they would be experiencing and feeling right now."
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission