Grace Millane: Murdered backpacker’s funeral held in Essex

Media captionMembers of Grace Millane’s family carried her coffin

The funeral service of murdered of British backpacker Grace Millane has taken place near her home in Essex.

The 22-year-old was last seen at a hostel in Auckland, New Zealand on 1 December. Her body was found a week later on the outskirts of the city.

A 26-year-old man has been charged with her murder and remains in custody.

Hundreds of mourners gathered for the Requiem Mass at Brentwood Cathedral on what Miss Millane’s family has called “Grace’s Day”.

Miss Millane had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

Her family in Wickford became concerned when the University of Lincoln graduate failed to respond to birthday messages on 2 December.

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Lucie Blackman Trust

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The University of Lincoln graduate arrived in New Zealand in mid-November

Miss Millane’s father flew to New Zealand and was there when police discovered the body of his daughter on 8 December.

Officers believe she was killed between 1 December and 2 December.

Her father flew back to the UK with Miss Millane’s body, but said “in some small way she will forever be a Kiwi”.

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The order of service was decorated with some of Miss Millane’s own paintings

Writing on social media ahead of Miss Millane’s funeral, her brother Declan described Thursday as “Grace’s Day”.

Mourners gathered outside the Roman Catholic cathedral as the hearse bearing her coffin arrived.

Six pallbearers, including her brothers Michael and Declan and her father, carried the coffin inside.

The pages of the order of service for the Requiem Mass – which began with the hymn Amazing Grace – were decorated with some of the paintings that keen artist Miss Millane had created.

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Hundreds gathered to bid farewell to Miss Millane

Speaking after the service, Father John Corbyn, who led the mass, said: “They are a very strong family.

“You can perceive a great deal of love and bonding and strength within that family, and they have many friends who will, I believe, help them.”

Following the service the family had said she would be buried in the village of Ramsden Bellhouse.

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The funeral took place at the cathedral in Brentwood

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