BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South North Midlands/East West/South-West London/South
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: UK: England  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Education
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Monday, 17 February, 2003, 13:21 GMT
Shooting victim's birthday funeral
Letisha Shakespeare's coffin
Letisha was described as an inquisitive niece
Family and friends of a Birmingham teenager who was shot dead during a New Year's party gathered for her funeral on what would have been her 18th birthday.

About 400 mourners attended the funeral service of Letisha Shakespeare, 17, who was shot dead with friend Charlene Ellis in Birmingham on 2 January.

The coffin was carried into the Park Avenue Methodist Church in Abington Avenue, Northampton, the town where the teenager was born, shortly after 1200 GMT on Friday.

A lone wreath of white flowers in the shape of a pillow, lay on top of the coffin with a single message: "Daughter".

Sophie Ellis
Sophie Ellis arrived at church in a wheelchair

Twin sister of Charlene Ellis, Sophie, who was badly injured by the gunmen on the night of the attack also attended the service in a wheelchair after being released from hospital only days earlier.

The Rev David Tomlin began the service by welcoming the hundreds of mourners who had turned out to pay their last respects to the teenager.

Letisha's aunt, Sandra, spoke of her inquisitive niece who loved to smile and laugh.

She described Letisha's ambition to go to university and become an interior designer but what she wanted most in life was to become a mother.

Sandra Shakespeare
Sandra Shakespeare
Now she has gone there will be an empty chair at the table where she sat

"She loved her music and you could always hear it booming from her bedroom.

"Letisha was not a child but also she was not yet a woman.

"She had a great zest for life and we were blessed for nearly 18 years when she was born into our family and now she has gone there will be an empty chair at the table where she sat.

"Although that chair will be empty she will be with us every day."

Police are still hunting the gunmen who murdered the two girls outside a hairdressing salon in the Aston area of Birmingham while attending a New Year's party.

Letisha Shakespeare funeral
Schoolfriends shed tears for murdered teenager

Detectives believe the girls were the innocent victims of a bitter feud between two rival north Birmingham gangs.

The girls were among about 25 revellers who went outside the crowded salon in Birchfield Road, Aston, for some fresh air when they came under fire.

During the service family friend Denise Gordon sang the hymn Amazing Grace.

Mr Tomlin called for the difficulties within the community to be resolved saying: "Let us not fall back into the ways of an eye for an eye."

Following the hour-long service close friends and family left the church to attend a private cremation ceremony.

Charlene's funeral takes place in Birmingham on 21 February.


Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online

Click here to go to BBC Northamptonshire

Key stories

Background

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Jan 03 | England
08 Jan 03 | Politics
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes