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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Hundreds at backpacker's funeral
Sarah Holiday with friends at Caroline's funeral
Sarah Holiday (centre) was travelling with Caroline
Hundreds of mourners have packed a church near York for the funeral of murdered backpacker Caroline Stuttle.

More than 300 friends and family members attended the service on Tuesday at Miss Stuttle's local church in Huntington.

The 19-year-old died nearly two weeks ago after she fell 30 feet from a bridge in Bundaberg, 220 miles north of Queensland, Australia.

Police believe she was followed by a man wearing a tracksuit who attacked her and in the struggle she fell or was pushed to her death.

Caroline's short life has touched hearts worldwide. I thank God for her life and her love

Alan Stuttle, Caroline's father

A number of mourners attending the service had to listen in the grounds of the 11th century church via loudspeakers.

During the service a message was read on behalf of the mayor of Bundaberg, Councillor Kay McDuff, who expressed her sympathy for Miss Stuttle's family.

She said: "While not everyone got to meet Caroline during her short time with us in this city, I can assure you she will lovingly be remembered by citizens."

The congregation also heard a tribute from Miss Stuttle's former tutor at York College, Jo Taylor, who spoke of Caroline's "wonderful generous spirit" and sense of humour.

She said: "She glowed with warmth and compassion. Caroline was an especially loving person. She loved and was loved by friends and family."

Caroline Stuttle
Caroline suffered fatal injuries falling from a bridge

At the start of the service, attended by Caroline's former schoolfriends and teachers, a large bouquet of flowers in the shape and colours of the rainbow was taken into All Saints' Church.

Miss Stuttle's family had earlier said they would like to establish a fund in their daughter's name, which would be used to support other young people in realising their dreams.

The service was taken by the vicar, the Rev Chris Cullwick, who said: "Caroline was somebody who was reaching for her dream, she was fulfilling it and enjoying it when that dream was suddenly cut short."

Caroline's family had received hundreds of cards and messages of sympathy from people around the world, he said.

'Touched hearts'

In a statement read out on his behalf after the service, Miss Stuttle's artist father Alan, thanked police in Australia and North Yorkshire for their help.

He said: "As an artist of over 40 years, I had not realised how many lives I touched, and yet Caroline's short life has touched hearts worldwide.

"I thank God for her life and her love."

An inquest into Miss Stuttle's death was opened and adjourned in York last week when a coroner heard she had died from massive head and spinal injuries.

She was attacked as she returned to a caravan park where she was staying with her 19-year-old schoolfriend and travelling companion, Sarah Holiday.

Click here to go to BBC North Yorkshire
See also:

19 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Inquest into backpacker's death
18 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Backpacker police search river
16 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Backpacker's parents thank townspeople
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Backpacker's friend tells of painful loss
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Backpacker police hope to jog memories
14 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Backpacker police in DNA probe
13 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
A community in shock
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