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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 January 2006, 14:29 GMT
Student's 'passion for life'
Katherine Horton

The family of Katherine Horton - a 21-year-old backpacker found dead on a beach in Thailand - have spoken of "her warmth and her vivacity".

The Reading University student was found in the sea at the resort of Koh Samui. She had been beaten with a blunt object and dragged along the ground.

A statement from her family on Tuesday read: "Katherine was much loved by all her family and friends.

"We will miss her warmth, her vivacity and her passion for life."

Miss Horton was last seen by a friend. She was on a beach with her mobile phone on New Year's Day speaking to her family in Cardiff.

The family are trying to find out what exactly has happened but there is no news at the moment. Everyone is in complete shock
Unnamed family friend
A statement from her parents Elizabeth and Ian and older brothers Christopher and Richard, continued: "This holiday had meant so much to her and she was so excited about travelling to Thailand before she was due to return to Reading University to complete her psychology degree.

"She brought us so much happiness and words cannot express the emptiness we feel at our loss.

The family home in Cardiff
Miss Horton spoke with her family in Cardiff on New Year's Day

"Our only comfort is the many happy memories we have of Katherine which we will always treasure."

A family friend, who left the Hortons' house earlier on Tuesday, said: "It was only a short backpacking holiday with a girlfriend. They were due back on January 10.

"While they were out there they met up with other friends and it was one of them who actually phoned to break the news today.

"The girl she went out there with is inconsolable and couldn't speak. But we have had no official information at all. Nobody has contacted Elizabeth. We simply don't know what happened.

"The family are trying to find out what exactly has happened but there is no news at the moment. Everyone is in complete shock."


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