Leah Croucher’s family solemnly carried her coffin at a funeral service for the tragic teen today.
A procession departed White Horse Drive, Emerson Valley, Milton Keynes at about 10:50am and will be followed by a private service for friends and family at Crownhill Crematorium.
Ms Croucher disappeared on 15 February 2019, and police confirmed in October 2022 that human remains found in the attic of a house in Furzton, Milton Keynes, belonged to the 19-year-old.
It was a crushing blow to her parents Claire and John, who had already struggled with the death of their 24-year-old son, who took his own life six months after his sister went missing.
The procession passes through Furzton, Shenley Brook End, Shenley Church End and Grange Farm.
Mourners have gathered to pay their respects to Leah Croucher at a public funeral procession through her hometown today, just over four years since she went missing
Ms Croucher disappeared on 15 February 2019 and police confirmed in October 2022 that human remains found in the attic of a house in Furzton, Milton Keynes, belonged to 19-year-old
The funeral procession 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 procession heads for the crematorium this morning
The funeral procession for murder victim Leah Croucher makes its way to Crownhill Crematorium in Milton Keynes this morning for a private service
Mourners line the streets this morning as the funeral procession makes its way to the crematorium
Floral tributes reading ‘Leah’ were seen from the window of the hearse in Milton Keynes
Ms Croucher’s parents previously said the procession would be an opportunity for people to ‘actually say goodbye’ to Leah as she heads to the crematorium on her final journey.
They also thanked the people of Milton Keynes for their support, including through messages left on a tree in the town, which have been collected into a book by the local church.
“This has brought great comfort to us as a family,” they said. “The time has come to finally lay our beautiful Leah to rest.”
Ms Croucher was reported missing on 15 February 2019 and officers found her on the Furzton property in October 2022 following a tip from a member of the public.
Detectives launched a murder investigation after Ms Croucher’s backpack and other belongings were found in the house, with sex offender Neil Maxwell named as the prime suspect.
Maxwell committed suicide in April 2019 while on the run from the police.
Officers believe he killed the teen, but have been unable to find anyone to place him near the home where her body was found.
An inquest opened earlier this year heard Ms Croucher’s cause of death is still under investigation.
Tom Osborne, senior coroner for Milton Keynes, opened and adjourned the inquest into Ms Croucher’s death, confirming that she had been identified from dental records.
The teen was last seen on February 15, 2019, and was thought to be walking to work. Two years later, detectives offered a £20,000 reward to help find her.
But all hope of finding the teen alive was lost when remains were unearthed in a loft in Milton Keynes last year.
Leah Croucher’s mother, Claire, is seen as the funeral procession makes its way to the crematorium
The funeral procession for murder victim Leah Croucher makes its way to the crematorium
Mourners in black came out to watch the procession take place this morning
Her body and belongings were found in a detached four-bed house in Loxbeare Drive – a house where sex offender Maxwell had once worked as a handyman, and detectives later confirmed 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.
Mrs. Croucher is said to have given the address as she walked to work at a collection agency in town.
After she was reported missing, police conducted house-to-house searches in the area. They received no answer at the vacant house and simply hung a brochure through the door.
Earlier, the coroner agreed to a request from the police to withhold the report of Maxwell’s inquest that was concluded on October 9, 2019.
Maxwell hanged himself on April 20, 2019, in a community garbage can in the city’s Campbell Park.
He had taped a note to the door that read, “Please don’t come in.” There’s a dead body inside. Call the police.’