Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Sunday, 14 March 2010

Girl's memorial sculpture stolen from Essex school


Camilla Hamilton died in a car crash seven years ago

A bronze statue dedicated to a 15-year-old girl killed in a car crash has been stolen from the grounds of her school in Essex.

Camilla Hamilton, of Felsted, near Chelmsford, died when a car being driven by her best friend, also 15, crashed at Pebmarsh in June 2003.

Her parents David and Janice said they were devastated by the theft from Felsted School on Thursday.

They fear the statue will be melted down unless it is found quickly.

Lasting legacy

"Both my wife and I are absolutely devastated and numb with shock," said Mr Hamilton.

He described Camilla as a "very popular and very happy" pupil, who is depicted in the statue wearing a sports kit and holding a hockey stick.

It was paid for by donations to a memorial fund after her death and was meant as a legacy that could "live on in an environment where she was happy," Mr Hamilton added.

Camilla Hamilton, a bronze statue of whom has been stolen from the grounds of her school in Essex
Camilla had a "zest for life", her father said

"Words fail to describe our thoughts of the people who committed this crime."

Head teacher Mike Walker said the school has been deeply affected by the theft.

"This not just the loss of the worth of the bronze, it is worth far more for its sentimental value.

"It really is a matter of huge significance to those affected."

The driver was due to stand trial in 2005 for causing death by dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking, but all charges were dropped.

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