Samantha Eastwood's family pays heartbreaking tribute to midwife days after murder Michael Stirling appears in court

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The family of midwife Samantha Eastwood has released a heartbreaking tribute six days after her body was found.

Releasing her graduation photo from when she received her midwifery degree, the family said in a moving statement on Friday: "From the age of 12, all Samantha wanted to be was a midwife. She had to work very hard to achieve her goal.

"Samantha may no longer be here but her memory and legacy will live on.

"Thank you to everyone for their kind thoughts for our family."

Samantha Eastwood's family lay flowers outside her home

Ms Eastwood's body was found in a rural area near Caverswall, Staffordshire, on Saturday – eight days since the 28-year-old had gone missing.

Her family's appeal came to week to the day since Ms Eastwood's sister, Gemma, made a desperate appeal for her whereabouts when she was still considered missing.

Samantha Eastwood went missing on July 27 (PA)

"She is my best friend and partner in crime," she said. "Without her half of me you've gone. Samantha, if you are listening please get in touch.

"We all love you and miss you very much. We just need you home where you belong."

Samantha Eastwood's body was found on Saturday after a police search (Peter Byrne / PA)

On Wednesday, Stafford Crown Court heard Ms Eastwood's body was found in a shallow serious, wrapped in a duvet cover and with tape over her eyes and mouth.

Michael Stirling, 32, was charged with murdering the popular Royal Stoke Hospital worker.

Michael Stirling has been charged with murder (Peter Byrne / PA)

Stirling, of Bucknall in Stoke-on-Trent, is the brother-in-law of Ms Eastwood's ex-fiance, John Peake.

I have not yet entered a plea, and a trial has been set for February next year.