Detectives at service for murdered backpackers

First Edition

Detectives yesterday attended the memorial service to Joanne Walters and Caroline Clarke, the murdered British backpackers, at the spot where their bodies were found in the Australian bush.

They joined the parents and brother of Ms Walters, 22, who had organised the tribute, and about 60 other local residents invited to the service at Berrima, near Bowral, New South Wales.

Ms Clarke's parents - at home in Slaley, Northumberland - contributed to the service by selecting special prayers and music. They were preparing to receive their daughter's body, which was being flown home yesterday.

Jill and Ray Walters had travelled to Australia from their home in Maesteg, Mid-Glamorgan with their son, Jonathan, 19, to help search for their daughter.

The bodies of Ms Clarke, a former Pizza Hut assistant manager, and Ms Walters, a nanny, were found two weeks ago. They had been repeatedly stabbed. Caroline was also shot in the head.

They disappeared in April after leaving a Sydney hostel to hitch-hike to Melbourne. They travelled to Australia independently but teamed up to tour the country after meeting in Tasmania.

Det Insp Bob Godden said police would release a sketch later this week of a man they wanted to interview. 'Since we released information about a sighting of the women in a Kombi van near the forest on 26 April we have received hundreds of calls from all over Australia,' he said.

Ms Walters' body has been released for burial, but it is not known when it will be flown to Britain.