Relief at last for family as Sarah’s body flown home
IPSWICH: It has been an agonising wait.
For the last three months, the family of Sarah Shields have been at the mercy of the Spanish authorities over when they could finally bring the body of their beloved daughter and sister home.
But today, Angela and David Shields are one step closer to laying Sarah to rest and saying their final goodbyes.
When Sarah failed to return from holiday with her boyfriend Christopher Chittock in July, their worst fears were realised when Spanish police confirmed the body found floating off the southern coast of Gran Canaria was that of the 23-year-old.
Chittock came home alone, claiming his girlfriend had left him and remained in the tourist spot.
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The 36-year-old, who lived with Sarah in Alnesbourn Crescent, was later accused of killing her while staying at the Balito Beach Apartments on the south of the island.
In the weeks that followed, the family discovered the police investigations into her death meant they could not bring their youngest child home to Ipswich.
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With a European Arrest Warrant served on him by the Spanish authorities, they were forced to wait for his extradition and for his legal team to decide whether they wanted a separate post mortem before her body could be flown back to the UK.
But in the early hours of Sunday morning, a plane touched down at Gatwick airport in London, bringing Sarah home.
For her family, the reality of their loss has become more real as they now start to prepare for her funeral.
Speaking from the family home in Ramsgate Drive, her mum Angela said: “It is a huge relief. I am so happy to have her closer to us, I just wish she was coming home alive.
“We miss her terribly. We are all glad she is with us so we can lay her to rest and say our final goodbyes.
“It has been three agonising three months for us all. Having her home does make it all more real for us.
“We have been advised against seeing her, I want to remember her as she was.
“David is going to visit and sit with her for a while, but I don’t think I can face it.
“All we want is to be able to put our beautiful girl to rest and give her a proper funeral, say our goodbyes.”
It is understood there will be an inquest into Sarah’s death before the family can bury her. The funeral directors Michael Smy have taken charge of her body.
Chittock arrived in Spain on August 16 and has appeared in Spanish court where he was told he is a formal suspect in the investigation into the killing of his girlfriend. He has been remanded in custody in Spain.
n Did you know Sarah Shields or do you know Christopher Chittock? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324739 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.