GEMMA FRASER (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MURDERED schoolgirl Vicky Hamilton was finally laid to rest at an emotional service today, nearly 17 years after she disappeared.
Family and friends gathered to remember Vicky, who was 15-years old, when she was last seen waiting for a bus in Bathgate in February 1991.
Her remains were uncovered at a terraced house in
An eerie silence fell on the picturesque
On one side the flowers were arranged to say “Vicky”, and on the other to say “sister”.
Michael Hamilton arrived in the first of the family hearses, accompanied by other family members. Vicky’s siblings Sharon, Lindsay and Lee, arrived shortly afterwards in a separate hearse and entered the church arm-in-arm, each carrying a red rose.
Inside, the Rev Geoffrey Smart said a “battle against evil” had been lost on the day Vicky died.
He described Vicky’s murder as a “cruel, callous and evil act.”
He said: “We come to remember Vicky as she was – a young girl with her whole life ahead of her, who was taken from us by this terrible act of evil.
The church was completely packed out with mourners, with all the pews filled and people standing in every available space.
Vicky’s siblings Sharon, Lee and Lindsay were sitting together at the front of the church. Her fatherMichael was at the front on the other side of the aisle.
The church organist was playing a version of I Will Always Love You, by Whitney Houston. The minister continued: “Vicky was a much loved daughter, sister, granddaughter, half sister and niece.
“She has been sorely missed by all these relatives all and the rest of her family and friends over these years.”
Vicky’s family said her disappearance had “ripped the family apart”, but were comforted by the fact they could now lay her to rest.
The minister added: “Her family were robbed of seeing Vicky grow up as all their hopes and expectations for Vicky’s future were taken from them.
“The judicial process will go on and help give some peace to all who mourn Vicky’s tragic and distressing death.
“As Christians, we are meant to have a forgiving spirit, yet forgiveness is a two-way street and we have seen no signs of contrition either for the evil deed or for putting a family through the hell of these last 16 years of uncertainty, worry and fear, which also caused the untimely death of Vicky’s mum.
“So today all we can do is thank God that throughout this time of uncertainty and fear Vicky was safely in His loving hands.
“Yet before this Vicky was forced to face something that nobody should ever have to face, especially a young, vulnerable teenage girl.”
However, he added: “We must not dwell on this today, but try to see beyond its darkness and focus on the light of our Christian belief, which tells us that Vicky is safe and secure in heaven, together with her granny and her mum, in order that God’s gracious love might take from us any feelings which might undermine our own lives.
“When we are able to do this we stop such evil from gaining any kind of victory over us, as we unite in God’s love.”
A young man dressed in full military uniform and ceremonial white gloves stood outside the church to greet mourners, including Vicky’s uncle Eric Hamilton.
Mourners laid wreaths and flowers on the grass outside before entering the church while people stopped in the street to watch.
The minister said: “Today, let us all find resolution and peace as we give Vicky her Christian service and burial in order that you can then move on in your lives.
“Jesus brought the light of God’s love to humanity in many different and powerful ways when He walked this earth, and through His Spirit He still does this today.”
He paid tribute to the “bright bubbly girl” who was a popular pupil at
The cortege then passed her old house on its way to
At Vicky’s graveside, Mr Smart said: “We gather to commit Vicky’s body to the ground, knowing that after her death some 16 years ago, Vicky’s immortal soul lived on in God’s eternal Kingdom of love.
‘The souls of the innocents are in God’s hands, no torment will touch them, for they are at peace.
“Almighty and ever loving God, Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ longed for us to know how we should live and love and grow, and chose a young person to show us some glimpses here of heaven.
“When youngsters suffer pain and cry and lose their hold on life and die, while we must grieve and wonder why Christ keeps them safe in heaven.
“So we give thanks to God for Vicky, now silent to the world, yet all these years, with her hand in hand in Christ’s, her Lord, and with her mum and her granny, Vicky has lived on in heaven.
“Lord, tell Vicky how we’ll always care, and miss the years we longed to share, until in answer to our prayer, we meet Vicky again in heaven.”
Vicky’s remains were found alongside those of 18-year-old Dinah McNicol, from Essex, buried in the garden of a house in