Crowds line streets of Milton Keynes for final farewell to murdered teen Leah Croucher

  • ITV News Anglia's Rebecca Haworth reports from the funeral procession.

Hundreds of tearful mourners turned out to pay their respects to murdered teenager Leah Croucher as a public funeral procession wound through her home city.

Leah's funeral cortege was led by an undertaker walking in front of her horse-drawn hearse along the 3.5-mile route through Milton Keynes.

It passed by her family home, and the estate in Furzton where her body was discovered.

Onlookers, some in tears, were thanked by the undertaker for turning out despite the light rain.

The 19-year-old went missing in February 2019, when she vanished on her way to work in Milton Keynes, and her remains were found more than three-and-a-half years later.

Leah Croucher vanished while walking to work in February 2019. Credit: Thames Valley Police/PA

Floral tributes featuring her name were laid out next to Ms Croucher's coffin in the hearse, which was accompanied by a small basket with stuffed toys.

The horses were draped in flags bearing the crest of Hogwarts house Gryffindor from the Harry Potter franchise.

Some friends and family were also wearing red and gold scarves.

Others held heart-shaped balloons reading "fly high" and "reach for the skies".

Ms Croucher's family said they hoped the slow procession would give the community an opportunity to say their farewells to the young woman whose disappearance touched the whole city.

Her parents, John and Claire Croucher, previously said the procession would be an opportunity for people to say their "very own private goodbye to Leah as she goes on her final journey".

A flower display spelling out Leah's name was carried in the hearse. Credit: PA Images

They also thanked the people of Milton Keynes for their support, including through messages left on a tree in the city which have been compiled into a book by the local church.

"As a family, this has brought us a large amount of comfort," they said. "The time has come to finally lay our beautiful Leah to rest."

The procession left from White Horse Drive in Emerson Valley just before 11am before heading to the Crownhill Crematorium where family and friends gathered for a private service.

Mourners lined the streets in Milton Keynes Credit: PA Images

Elsewhere, the Church of the Servant King in Furtzon opened its doors to remember Ms Croucher, with members of the community invited to light a candle and pray.

Rev Mike Morris, team minister, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Leah’s family and friends at this heart-breaking time.

“The Church of the Servant King will be open for anyone from the community to spend time in quiet prayer and an opportunity to light a candle in Leah’s memory.”

Ms Croucher vanished on February 15, 2019, and police confirmed in October 2022 that human remains found in the loft of a house in Furzton, Milton Keynes, belonged to the 19-year-old.

Detectives launched a murder investigation after Ms Croucher's rucksack and other belongings were found at the house, naming sex offender Neil Maxwell as the prime suspect.

Maxwell killed himself in April 2019 while on the run from police.

Officers believe he murdered the teenager, but have been unable to find anyone who can place him near the house where her body was found.

Police outside the house on Loxbeare Drive, Milton Keynes, where Leah Croucher's remains were found. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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