Valley of death is silenced as victims of killer are buried killer

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THE COFFINS were brought in one by one. First was that of Mandy Power, the mother who died struggling to save her family. Then came that of her mother, Doris Dawson, a disabled elderly woman murdered in her bed. Finally the pall-bearers carried in the small white boxes containing the bodies of the two little girls, Katie and Emily.

Seldom can the streets of Clydach have been so full. Yesterday the former mining town in the Swansea valley was silent as it buried three generations of one family murdered by a killer still at large. "A family decimated, the rest of the family devastated," said the Rev Nigel Griffin, chaplain at Swansea's Morriston Hospital, as mourners gathered at Clydach's St Mary's Church.

The cortege started at the family home of Ms Power's sisters and brother in Penydre Road. Here, on the hillside over looking the small community, Margaret, Julie, Sandra and Bob got into the cars to begin the ceremony to bury their sister, mother and nieces.

The procession headed down the hill and passed the junction to Kelvin Road, where Ms Power and the other victims lived at Number 9. Here, on 27 June, they were beaten to death by an assailant with a metal bar. Ms Power was sexually assaulted before the killer set fire to the house to cover tracks. Hours later, Ms Power's lesbian girlfriend, Alison Lewis, a former martial arts champion and police officer, tried to kill herself.

From Kelvin Road the cortege carried on into the small town. It seemed most of the mourners were wearing purple ribbons which had been sold by a fund set up to pay for the funerals and to set up a memorial to the family.

In the back of the hearse carrying the two girls, aged 10 and eight, white flowers had been arranged to spell their names.

By the time the cortege had arrived at St Mary's, the church was packed with mourners, among them Ms Power's ex-husband, Michael. Many villagers had to listen to the service by loudspeaker.

For 50 minutes they stood as hymns were sung and poems read, among the, a verse entitled Peace, which Katie had written for a school project seven weeks ago. It told of birds chirping and of the Sun shining on the sea.

The service programme also included a note from Ms Power's relatives, thanking the people of Clydach, for their support "during this sad and harrowing time".

Finally, before the coffins were taken away for a private ceremony at nearby Coed Gwilym cemetery, Mr Griffin appealed to people to help catch the killer. He said no "sane human being" could live with what had been done.

Police hope that someone will respond to his words. Superintendent Martyn Lloyd-Evans, the officer in charge of the investigation and who attended the service, said he was still waiting for the vital information that will take them to the killer. Yesterday, as Ms Power and her family were being buried, police were placing posters up around the village appealing for information. Its message read: "Don't let this lie on your conscience".