Schoolgirl laid to rest 16 years after she vanished

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The Independent Online

Mourners at the funeral of Vicky Hamilton yesterday were told the schoolgirl's family had been "robbed" of seeing her grow up.

Redding Parish Church near Falkirk was packed as family and friends finally paid their respects to the 15-year-old more than 16 years after she disappeared.

Her remains were finally unearthed at a house in Margate, Kent, on November 12, alongside those of 18-year-old student Dinah McNicol.

It was the former home of Scots handyman Peter Tobin, 61, who has since been charged with Vicky's murder.

Her tearful father Michael, his wife Christine, and Vicky's brother and sisters were among around 200 people crammed into the church yesterday.

The church is close to the home she lived in when she went missing.

The schoolgirl's mother, Janette, died in 1993 aged 43.

Minister of Redding and Westquarter, the Rev Geoffrey Smart, told the congregation: "We gather with grief in our hearts knowing now that our worst fears over Vicky were realised.

"We come to remember Vicky as she was, a young girl with her whole life ahead of her, who was taken from us by this terrible act of evil."

He went on: "All those years when hopes of Vicky's safe return amongst us caused such pain and suffering, worry and anxiety to her family and this community.

"Her family were robbed of seeing Vicky grow up as all their hopes and expectations for Vicky's future were taken from them.

"We must not dwell on this yesterday, but try to see beyond its darkness and focus on the light of our Christian belief which tells us that Vicky is safe and secure in heaven, together with her granny and her mum."

Many other residents of the village stood outside in the pouring rain as the ceremony took place.