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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 12:05 GMT 13:05 UK
Murdered Leanne buried
Pallbearers at Leanne Tiernan's funeral
Miss Tiernan's best friend helped carry the coffin
The funeral has been held of murdered teenager Leanne Tiernan, the day after what would have been her 17th birthday.

The service was held less than a mile from where Leanne disappeared, close to her home, in November last year.

Her body was found nine months later at a beauty spot near Otley, on the border of West and North Yorkshire. She had been strangled.

Whether you knew her as a daughter, granddaughter, sister, or niece, she was always a friend

Deaconess Sister Janet Durbin
Leanne's mother, Sharon Hawkhead, sister Michelle and best friend Sarah Whitehouse, the last person to see her alive, were joined by other friends to carry the white coffin into Sandford Methodist Church, in Bramley, Leeds.

A floral tribute bearing the words "Night Night Baby" was taken into the service to the song November Rain, by American rock band Guns 'N' Roses.

Miss Tiernan had also been baptised at the church.

The congregation included Detective Superintendent Chris Gregg, who is leading the hunt for Leanne's killer.

About 100 people packed into the small church, and the service was relayed to dozens of mourners outside.

Mourners at Leanne Tiernan's funeral
More than 100 people attended the funeral
They sang the teenager's favourite hymns, including Give Me Oil in My Lamp and Ye Shall Go Out With Joy.

Sister Janet Durbin, the Deaconess who led the service, said: "Leanne was a normal, happy, fun-loving teenager, half child and half young lady.

"She still loved to spend time with her Grandma and Grandad, enjoying walking to church on Sunday mornings.

"One of her uncles still called her his 'chocolate chip niece', because of her love of chocolate."

Sister Durbin said Miss Tiernan was a "special member" of the church family.

"You are naturally sad because you won't physically see Leanne again," she said.

"Whether you knew her as a daughter, granddaughter, sister, or niece, she was always a friend.

Private burial

"Whatever your memories cherish them - they are like gifts that no one can take away from you."

After the hour-long service, friends and family wept as the coffin was taken to the nearby Hill Top Cemetery for a private burial.

Miss Tiernan disappeared after a shopping trip in Leeds with Miss Whitehouse.

They had parted company and Miss Tiernan started walking home through dark woodland.

Her disappearance sparked a massive police hunt, before her body was discovered in August, at the beauty spot.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had been strangled with a scarf and plastic cable ties.

Her body had been wrapped in plastic bags and a duvet cover.

Click here to go to BBC Leeds Online
See also:

06 Sep 01 | UK
Leanne police reveal images
28 Aug 01 | UK
Leanne strangled with scarf
23 Aug 01 | UK
Leanne 'was my best friend'
22 Aug 01 | UK
Missing Leanne's body found
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