Heartbroken family carry coffin during Leah Croucher's funeral service
Leah Croucher’s final journey: Teenager’s heartbroken family solemnly carry coffin during funeral service for 19-year-old whose remains were found at a house nearly four years after she vanished
- Cortege departed from Milton Keynes earlier and is followed by private service
- Police confirmed last year that remains found in a loft belonged to Ms Croucher
The family of Leah Croucher solemnly carried her coffin today during a funeral service for the tragic teenager.
Mourners lined the streets of Milton Keynes as a cortege passed through the town towards Crownhill Crematorium, where a private service for friends and family was held.
Ms Croucher vanished on February 15, 2019, and police confirmed in October 2022 that human remains found in the loft of a house in Furzton, Milton Keynes, belonged to the 19-year-old.
It was a crushing blow for her parents Claire and John – who had already had to grapple with the death of their 24-year-old son, who took his life six months after his sister went missing.
The cortege is proceeding through Furzton, Shenley Brook End, Shenley Church End and Grange Farm.
Mourners have flocked to pay their respects to Leah Croucher at a public funeral procession through her home city today, just over four years since she went missing
Ms Croucher vanished on February 15, 2019, and police confirmed in October 2022 that human remains found in the loft of a house in Furzton, Milton Keynes, belonged to the 19-year-old
The funeral cortege for murder victim Leah Croucher makes its way to Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes for a private service
Leah’s parents, Claire and John Croucher, are seen as the funeral cortege makes its way to the crematorium this morning
The funeral cortege for murder victim Leah Croucher makes its way to Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes for a private service this morning
Mourners line the streets this morning as the funeral cortege makes its way to the crematorium
Floral tributes spelling out ‘Leah’ were seen out the window of the hearse in Milton Keynes
Ms Croucher’s parents previously said the procession would be an opportunity for people to say their ‘very own private ‘goodbye’ to Leah as she goes on her final journey to the crematorium’.
They also thanked the people of Milton Keynes for their support, including through messages left on a tree in the city which have been compiled into a book by the local church.
‘As a family, this has brought us a large amount of comfort,’ they said. ‘The time has come to finally lay our beautiful Leah to rest.’
Ms Croucher was reported missing on February 15 2019, and officers found her at the Furzton property in October 2022 following a tip-off from a member of the public.
Detectives launched a murder investigation after Ms Croucher’s rucksack and other belongings were found at the house, naming sex offender Neil Maxwell as the prime suspect.
Maxwell killed himself in April 2019 while on the run from police.
Officers believe he murdered the teenager, but have been unable to find anyone who can place him near the house where her body was found.
An inquest opening earlier this year heard that Ms Croucher’s cause of death is still being investigated.
Tom Osborne, senior coroner for Milton Keynes, opened and adjourned the inquest into Ms Croucher’s death, confirming she was identified by dental records.
The teenager was last seen on February 15 2019, and it was believed she was walking to work. Two years later, detectives offered a reward of £20,000 to help find her.
But all hope of finding the teenager alive was lost when remains were unearthed in a loft in Milton Keynes, last year.
The mother of Leah Croucher, Claire, is seen as the funeral cortege moves towards the crematorium
The funeral cortege for murder victim Leah Croucher makes its way to the crematorium
Mourners wearing black came out to watch as the procession took place this morning
Her body and possessions were found at a four-bed detached house in Loxbeare Drive – a home that sex offender Maxwell had once worked at as a handyman, with detectives later confirming he was their only suspect.
The address was less than a mile from the home in Quantock Crescent, Emerson Valley that she shared with her parents.
Ms Croucher would have passed the address as she walked to work at a direct debit collection agency in the city.
After she was reported missing, the police carried out door-to -door inquiries in the area. They got not reply at the unoccupied home and simply posted a leaflet through the door.
Earlier the coroner agreed to a police request to withhold the record of Maxwell’s inquest that was concluded on October 9 2019.
Maxwell hanged himself on April 20, 2019, in a communal bin cupboard in Campbell Park in the city.
He had left a note taped to the door that read: ‘Please do not come in. There is a dead body inside. Call the police.’
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