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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 14:48 GMT
Murdered toddler's funeral held
David Mullen (right) carries his daughter's coffin into the church
Many of the mourners wept as they entered the church
More than 100 mourners gathered for the funeral of toddler Casey Leigh Mullen, who was found dead at her home on an east Leeds estate.

The two-year-old's body was found at a house in Oak Tree Crescent, Gipton, on 11 February.

A horse-drawn carriage led the funeral cortege to St Bartholomew's Church in Wesley Road, Armley.

Casey's uncle, Michael Mullen, 21, of Lawrence Road, Leeds, is due to stand trial for her rape and murder in July.

Two white horses pulled a glass carriage which carried the small white coffin, draped with pink and white roses.

Many of the guests wept as they entered the church. Casey's mother, Samantha Canham, 21, was comforted by friends and family.

The toddler's father, David Mullen, 20, helped carry the coffin into the church, to the song "I Will Always Love You" by Whitney Houston.

Samantha Canham, mother of Casey Mullen
Casey's mother, Samantha Canham, was comforted by family

The funeral car carried red, white and pink flowers spelling out "Casey", "daughter" and "niece".

One message read: "Our darling daughter, how our heart aches without you here with us. Go baby and play with the angels.

"All our love, mummy and daddy."

Inside the church, Father Ian Wright led a 40-minute service, in which prayers were said for Casey, her parents and her older brother Darren.

The funeral party then left the church to Celine Dion's "Fly", to attend a private burial at nearby New Wortley Cemetery.

Speaking after the burial, Father Wright said the ceremony had celebrated a "tiny, wonderful life."

"This whole sad event has touched the whole world", he said.

"You never know how anybody deals with coming to terms with something like this and it is going to be a very long time, if they ever will, because of the nature of this tragic situation.

Casey Leigh Mullen
The ceremony celebrated a "tiny, wonderful life"

"You can't imagine what is going on inside their minds and how they are feeling.

"Time is going to be the greatest healer."

A post-mortem examination showed that Casey died from compression of the neck.

Mr Mullen is due to appear at Leeds Crown Court on 16 April.




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