Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Friday, 11 December 2009

Funeral for M5 murder victim Melanie Hall

Funeral procession leading into Bath Abbey
The service was led by the abbey rector Prebendary Edward Mason and the Rev Alison Fry from St John the Baptist Church in Batheaston

The funeral of murder victim Melanie Hall, whose remains were found by the M5, has taken place in Bath - 13 years after she went missing.

The 25-year-old disappeared after a night out in the city on 9 June, 1996.

Her remains were found by a workman clearing the side of the M5 in South Gloucestershire on 5 October.

Hundreds of mourners attended the service at Bath Abbey, after her parents Steve and Pat Hall decided to open the service to the public.

Her coffin, with a wreath of flowers placed on top, was carried into the Abbey, followed by her parents, her sister Dominique, her grandmother and nieces.

Melanie Hall
Melanie Hall suffered head injuries before she died

The service was led by the abbey rector Prebendary Edward Mason and the Rev Alison Fry from St John the Baptist Church in Batheaston, where Miss Hall was christened.

Last month, Mr Hall, of Bradford on Avon, offered the open invitation in order to thank the people of Bath for their support.

The family said: "Since 9 June 1996 we have waited for news of our youngest daughter Melanie.

"We have been truly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of love and affection shown by so many people to us and our family during this difficult time."

We will be relentless and absolutely determined in our efforts to identify Melanie's killer, however long it takes
Mike Courtiour
Avon and Somerset Police

"During that time we have received unprecedented support from the people of Bath and those living in the surrounding towns and villages.

Police officers who have worked on the case since 1996 also attended the service.

Det Supt Mike Courtiour, who is leading the murder investigation, said: "We will be relentless and absolutely determined in our efforts to identify Melanie's killer, however long it takes."

Miss Hall's remains were found near Thornbury and were initially identified by a gold ring.

Her body had been wrapped in a black plastic bag, tied with blue rope.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had suffered blunt force injuries to her head.

Despite numerous appeals, including a reconstruction on BBC's Crimewatch programme, no-one has yet been charged with her murder.

Police have received more than 550 messages from the public and taken 190 statements, since the remains were discovered. Forensic analysis is still ongoing.



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