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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
Final resting place for baby Lara
By Lynn Crombie
BBC News Newcastle

Sgt Jason Robinson carries the coffin into the church
Sgt Jason Robinson carries the coffin into the church
A tiny white casket carried the remains of a baby to her final resting place, bringing to an end the latest chapter in her harrowing short life.

Dozens of Cumbria Police officers, who took baby Lara to their hearts, turned out for the small service in St Paul's Church, Seaton, in Cumbria, on Tuesday.

Sgt Jason Robinson, the first officer to see Lara, carried the coffin into the church while a bouquet from the force said: "In memory of Lara - a baby girl who will always be remembered."

The murdered and still unidentified child was then buried at St Peter's churchyard in Camerton.

A white teddy bear and a poem were placed on Lara's coffin as it was lowered into the grave, which was surrounded by flowers.

The poem was to "a beautiful baby" who was now "an angel in heaven".

The funeral took place three years to the day since a block of concrete was discovered by a man in his garage in Barepot, near Workington.

She went through a horrific short life and we have set ourselves the goal of putting that right
Andy Carter, Cumbria Police

Inside lay the remains of a baby girl - a child who it was later discovered had suffered horrific physical and possibly sexual abuse before being entombed alive in the concrete up to 15 years ago.

Police began a painstaking operation of finding out the identity of the baby.

That operation continues, but on Tuesday, Lara was finally laid to rest.

West Cumbria police commander Ron Smith joined members of the Operation Lara inquiry team in the congregation for the ecumenical service.

Inquiry goes on

Camerton vicar the Rev Ian Grainger, who led the service, took up his post just days before Lara's remains were found in 2002.

He said the service was a "simple act of worship and remembrance to lay to rest the little girl".

St Peter's Church
Baby Lara was laid to rest at St Peter's Church

He said: "The investigation has revealed various things... which have indicated that her life was short, painful and uncomfortable.

"For her, our hopes and prayers must be for 'moving on' to the new life and peace of heaven that is central to the Christian faith."

Det Con Jenny Wilson read a poem entitled Playing on the Shore.

It was chosen by the vicar who said it brought to mind all the things Lara will never get to do.

But as the little girl is finally laid to rest, officers are as determined as ever to find her killer.

Future hopes

A post-mortem examination showed she had suffered a fractured skull, bruising to the abdomen and an untreated abscess in the mouth which had cracked the bone.

The West Cumbria coroner recorded a verdict of unlawful killing.

Det Ch Insp Andy Carter, leading the inquiry, said: "This young girl suffered considerably during her life.

"She went through a horrific short life and we have set ourselves the goal of putting that right and caring for her as she is in her current state.

"An inquiry like this never ends. We need to make plans for any future breakthrough in forensic sciences to ensure we are in the position to have tests carried out."

With that in mind, Lara leaves behind tissue samples which have been preserved in the hope that, just as forensic science today is helping police solve crimes of the past, new techniques of the future will help officers find out exactly who was baby Lara and who killed her.

Funeral for entombed baby 'Lara'
13 Sep 05 |  Cumbria
Entombed baby unlawfully killed
18 Jul 05 |  Cumbria
Still no clue to baby's parents
20 Mar 04 |  Cumbria
Baby death suspects speak out
30 Jan 04 |  Cumbria
Baby's remains found in concrete
08 Sep 03 |  Cumbria

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