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Saturday, 11 December, 1999, 16:26 GMT
Family's 'goodbye' to murdered student

Isabel Peake Isabel Peake's death is still being investigated

Relatives and friends of Birmingham University student Isabel Peake have attended a memorial service in her honour two months after she was found dead near a railway line in France.

Ms Peake, 20, from Barlaston, Staffordshire, was just two weeks into an exchange year when her partially-clothed body was discovered near Limoges on 13 October.

Saturday's private service, at St Francis's Hall in Birmingham University, gave members of her family, friends and other students the chance to say a last goodbye.

Poster A poster appeals for witnesses
The investigation into Ms Peake's death by French police has concentrated on whether she fell or was pushed from the overnight train she boarded on a planned visit back to England.

Last week police released a Photofit-style image of a "key witness" they want to question in connection with her death.

About 100 well-wishers, including representatives from her hall of residence and university vice-chancellor Professor Maxwell Irvine, attended the 40-minute service.

The tribute, conducted by the university's chaplain Reverend Andrew Gorham, was designed to honour Ms Peake's life.

It included prayers, poetry readings, classical and modern music recitals chosen by her parents and sister.

After the service, the president of the Birmingham University Guild of Students Matt Gorman said: "It was a very moving service, as you can imagine, and an awful lot of people were there.

"There were prayers, tributes, music and hymns by her friends and people had the opportunity to chat afterwards.

'Positive feelings'

"It was a service of thanksgiving for her life. The emphasis was on that.

"She would not have wanted her friends to sitting around crying. She would have wanted positive feelings. It was an appropriate service."

The key witness This is the man police want to question
It is thought a second memorial service, for family and friends, will be held before Christmas in Ms Peake's home town of Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent.

Ms Peake's funeral was held at an undisclosed location in France soon after her death.

Earlier this month French magistrates investigating her death visited England as part of their inquiry.

The move came amid criticism of the French police's handling of the case.

Ms Peake's parents have described a wall of bureaucracy which greeted them following their daughter's death.

Police have also been criticised for failing to take the train on which she was travelling out of service until six days after she died.

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See also:
26 Nov 99 |  Europe
Police step up rail death inquiry
03 Nov 99 |  UK
Police hunt gang over student death
12 Nov 99 |  UK
Rail death inquiry team visit Britain
23 Oct 99 |  UK
Student's death 'was not suicide'

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