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Friends tell of dead girl's relationship with father

Friends of a teenage girl who died after being found in a house with her fatally injured father said today she had been "sorting her life out" after a "tough few months".

Margaret Pierides, 16, died after being airlifted to hospital from the family's £750,000 home in the picturesque village of Sible Hedingham, Essex yesterday.

Her father, Costas Pierides, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Post mortem tests were being carried out today but police said they were not looking for anyone in connection with the murder investigation.

The teenager's friends spoke of the rocky relationship she had with her father but said they appeared to have "patched things up" recently.

She had returned home a "few months ago" after spending time in a youth hostel in nearby Braintree.

Kika Willings, 18, who went to the village school with Margaret, said: "When she went back home she was so happy. She was proper sorting her life out.

"She seemed to have patched things up.

"We were best friends. She was so much fun to be around. She was crazy."

Miss Willings' mother, Celestine Adams, 45, described Margaret as a "wild card".

In a tribute addressed to Margaret's mother, Bernadette, Mrs Adams wrote: "Bernadette, please take comfort from the fact that Margaret, the last couple of times we saw her, had a glow, a confidence and was looking gorgeous.

"She loved you and her brothers and sisters.

"Margaret was a lovely girl, a wild card - a little troubled but a lovely a girl."

Friends said Margaret had "gone off the rails" during her final year in school and had several fall outs with her father.

But they said the family, including Margaret's four siblings, had recently enjoyed a holiday together in Greece and everything appeared "perfect".

Mrs Adams, a mother of seven, said: "When she moved back home her life was perfect. She loved it at home.

"She was so glad to be with her brothers and sisters."

Margaret, who did not complete all of her GCSE exams, had started a college course as a beautician days before her death.

And on Saturday morning, hours before suffering fatal injuries, she posted a message on social networking site Facebook that said: "What a special girl I am. Well, my dad says so anyway."

The deaths happened a day after the family celebrated the birthday of Margaret's younger sister, Androulla.

Another schoolfriend, Jasmine Grounsell, who had an 18th birthday party yesterday, said many of Margaret's friends had attended.

"Everyone was telling me to cheer up but it was really sad," she said.

"She was such a laugh - she always seemed up for a laugh. I saw her two or three days ago in the street. She was happy and smiling."

Floral tributes were being left outside the family's seven-bedroom detached bedroom as a single police officer stood on guard today.

One tribute said: "This seems so surreal, writing this two days after speaking to you but these past few months have been so tough on you and you've done so well.

"I'm so proud of you, we all are. You will be greatly missed, as a sister, a daughter and a friend. We all love you so much."

Prayers were said for the family at the village church today.

The Rev Laurie Bond, the parish priest, had lunch with the family last weekend after Mr and Mrs Pierides became Godparents to a four-year-old boy.

He said: "There has been a great deal of shock around the village because they were a well known family in the village.

"The children attended the local schools. It's just a huge sense of shock."

Mr Bond said there appeared to be a "normal family situation" during the lunch at the home of mutual friends.

"All the family were there - both parents and all the children," he said.

"Margaret was happy playing with her younger brothers and having lunch and telling me about the college course she started last week in Braintree.

"She was quite keen and looking forward to that. It just seemed a normal family situation with everyone getting on extremely well together.

"There was no evidence of any tension. I spent probably the best part of two hours with them."

Another teenager, who laid flowers outside the house, described Margaret as a "strong girl".

She said: "She was just a happy little chappy. She was always up for having a laugh.

"She was looking good. She was such a strong girl and doing really well for herself."