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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 16:21 GMT
Sally's life 'cruelly cut short'
Sally Geeson
Miss Geeson went missing after a New Year's Eve party
The murder of student Sally Geeson has devastated the lives of hundreds of people who knew her, a priest has said.

Father Frank Smith, who conducted Miss Geeson's funeral service at St Mary's Church, Prittlewell, Essex, said her life had been cruelly cut short.

The Anglia Polytechnic University student - who disappeared on New Year's Day after going to a party in Cambridge - was murdered by a soldier.

Miss Geeson's funeral was held on Friday afternoon.

Her body was found near a military cemetery at Madingley on 7 January.

Miss Geeson's killer, Lance Corporal David Atkinson, 31, a Royal Engineer based at Waterbeach, near Cambridge, killed himself 12 hours after Miss Geeson's body was discovered.

You will never be far from my side and will forever be in my heart. All my love always lil sis Nic
Message from Miss Geeson's sister Nicola

About 200 mourners, some carrying bouquets, attended the service.

Many of Miss Geeson's fellow students arrived on two coaches laid on by the university. Her family - including her mother Sue, sisters Nicola, 24, and Miss Geeson's twin Julie, 22, - arrived in a cortege of four cars.

Her father Lawrence and her 15-year-old brother John helped carry her coffin - which had white lilies on top - into the church.

A car full of floral tributes led the cortege.

'Lasting legacy'

One arrangement from Miss Geeson's sister Nicola spelt out the name Sally.

Funeral cortege
About 200 mourners, some carrying bouquets, attended the service

The message on the card read: "I have so many wonderful memories which I will treasure forever. You will never be far from my side and will forever be in my heart. All my love always lil sis Nic."

Mr Smith, who is a close friend of the family, said Miss Geeson was active and lively and had lived life to the full.

"She was a very positive person and this cruel end to her life has crushed many lives," he said.

Childhood memories

Mr Smith said that Miss Geeson had left a huge legacy behind and would never be forgotten.

During the service Miss Geeson's two sisters told the congregation about growing up together and shared some of their childhood memories.

They joked that she was so scatty they used to pretend to disown her.

The last Christmas they spent together was the best they had ever shared, the sisters said.

A short private cremation ceremony took place at Southend Crematorium following the service.

Sally may get posthumous degree
17 Jan 05 |  Cambridgeshire
Soldier killed Sally, tests show
11 Jan 05 |  Cambridgeshire
Body identified as missing Sally
08 Jan 05 |  Cambridgeshire

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