Family prepares for last goodbye to Sarah

IPSWICH: Grieving loved ones of Sarah Shields are today preparing for their final goodbyes after permission was granted to finally lay her to rest.

Her parents, Angela and David Shields, of Ramsgate Drive, Ipswich, have been told they can begin making arrangements for their daughter’s funeral after an inquest into her death was opened and adjourned.

It comes after three devastating months for Sarah’s family who have waited for her body to be flown home.

The 23-year-old was found in the sea off the southern coast of Gran Canaria on July 7. She left for a holiday at the Balito Beach Apartments with her live-in partner Christopher Chittock on June 28. When Chittock, of Alnesbourn Crescent, arrived home alone on July 11 her family reported her missing.

Then came the devastating news that a body found floating off the resort’s coast was that of their youngest child. But today, after Greater Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean opened an inquest into her death, Sarah’s parents can go ahead with their plans to lay her to rest.

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Mrs Shields said: “We are relieved, a big weight has been lifted from our shoulders. I am dreading the actual day but it is time to say our goodbyes. Everything is becoming more and more real for us all.

“But we are so glad to have her home and to know we will soon have her grave to visit.”

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The family are due to meet with funeral directors Michael Smy today to put the finishing touches to their plans for Sarah’s send-off.

Mrs Shields said they are hoping all her friends, work colleagues and those who knew her will join them in saying goodbye.

Chittock, 36, was arrested on suspicion of murdering Sarah on July 13. He is currently on remand in Spain, after being extradited on August 16 to face legal proceedings in connection with his girlfriend’s death.

After appearing in court in Gran Canaria a judge told Chittock he is a formal suspect in the investigation.

n Did you know Sarah or do you know Christopher Chittock? Call the Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324739 or e-mail starnews@evening

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