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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 14:30 GMT
Backpacker laid to rest on Orkney
Karen Aim's coffin
The funeral took place at East Mainland Church in Orkney
Hundreds of mourners gathered to say farewell to murdered backpacker Karen Aim as she was buried in Orkney.

The minister at East Mainland Church in Holm, where the funeral service took place, said Ms Aim was a "very special person, blessed by God".

The packed congregation also heard tributes to her "caring, sweet and beautiful spirit".

The 26-year-old from Orkney was killed as she made her way home from a night out in Taupo, New Zealand.

Her body arrived back in Holm on mainland Orkney on Sunday night after a 12,000 mile journey by air and sea.

She absolutely buzzed with life. Now her bright light has been cruelly snuffed out.
Violet Perfect
Ms Aim's aunt

Before the service, videos and pictures of Ms Aim's life were shown and some of her favourite music was played - including a song called Only The Good Die Young.

Reverend Miriam Gross described how, on her second visit to New Zealand, Ms Aim told her: "Taupo is the place for me: it feels so good."

"She made more of the 26 years God gifted her with than most of us do out of a whole lifetime," said Reverend Gross, who added: "We are still frozen and can't believe it."

Stephen Hagen, convenor of Orkney Islands Council, said local people wanted to show their support for the Aim family - particularly because Orkney was a small community of just 20,000 people.

'Shining light'

"Because of the small size [of the community] if you don't know someone directly you know them indirectly through someone else, so I think people do just gather around and support each other," he said.

Earlier, a memorial service attended by Ms Aim's aunt was held in Taupo.

Violet Perfect, who lives in New Zealand, described her niece as a shining light.

She added: "Whenever Karen stayed with us, the whole house changed as if a light had been switched on. She absolutely buzzed with life.

Karen Aim
Karen Aim had been in New Zealand since October

"Now her bright light has been cruelly snuffed out. She died in unimaginable terror and pain after being savagely beaten on a street corner.

"As for her family, a piece of them will have died with her. They have been condemned to live without her, remembering how she died.

"The killers, hopefully, will be caught but justice will never be done."

A murder inquiry was launched after Ms Aim was found fatally injured in the street.

The investigation, led by Detective Sergeant Greg Turner, has focused on a group who vandalised a nearby college and CCTV images of a cyclist in the area have been released.

A 14-year-old boy has been arrested, but is not being connected directly to the attack.

Mourners gather for Karen Aim's funeral

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