Memorial service for murdered Libby

A PUBLIC memorial service for an Essex teenager murdered in New Zealand will take place tomorrow .

Roddy Ashworth

A PUBLIC memorial service for an Essex teenager murdered in New Zealand will take place tomorrow .

The body of 15-year-old Liberty Templeman was discovered lying face down in a stream in the small town of Kerikeri in the far north of the country at the weekend.

The ceremony to remember the youngster, who was brought up in Brightlingsea, will take place at The Centre, an arts and recreation venue in Kerikeri, near where the teenager's body was discovered.


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Around 600 people are expected to attend the service, including former school friends and members of the Kerikeri Players who are expected to say goodbye to the aspiring young actress with a special performance, a New Zealand television station reported.

Mourners have been asked to “come with colour and come with a smile” to help celebrate her life.

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News of the memorial came shortly after it was reported that Liberty's grieving parents, Andrew and Rebecca, had visited the spot where their daughter was found dead.

The couple, who emigrated from their Essex home with their daughter and son William, 12, in 2005, visited the scene yesterday with police and a family friend.

Liberty, who was known as Libby, had moved south to Auckland with her family two weeks ago and had returned to Kerikeri to visit friends when she went missing.

According to reports, she was dropped off outside a school before going to meet her boyfriend at the supermarket where he worked.

She was last seen at 7pm on Saturday local time, when she told friends she would be walking through school grounds.

The alarm was raised when she did not arrive and her fully clothed body was found at 5pm the next day.

Detectives have refused to say how she had died or if she had been sexually assaulted.

Liberty was due to start classes at Rangitoto College on Auckland's North Shore.

In a statement, her family said: “Liberty was staying with family friends in Kerikeri, enabling her to be with a number of her really close friends prior to returning home on Sunday.

“She was looking forward to her first day at Rangitoto College where she had already auditioned for a place in the end of year performance.”

Police liaison officer Willie More told The New Zealand Herald: “(Mr and Mrs Templeman) wanted to see the scene before we make it public, before we pull out of here. This is where their daughter was - it's a bit of closure for them.”

The newspaper said that after the couple left, police officers bowed their heads and took part in a karakia, a traditional Maori prayer ceremony.

Liberty attended The Colne Community School in Brightlingsea for more than a year, leaving when she was in year eight.

She was a member of a local sailing club and also the Brightlingsea Pantomime Group, with whom she performed in 2005.

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