Mum's tribute to murder victim
STILL struggling to cope with her grief, Leonora Gardiner clings tightly to the happier memories of her daughter Cara today.Throughout the ten months since Ms Martin-Brown was murdered in Alderman Road, Ipswich, the 49-year-old mum-of-five has had to bear the additional burden of the circumstances surrounding her death.
STILL struggling to cope with her grief, Leonora Gardiner clings tightly to the happier memories of her daughter Cara today.
Throughout the ten months since Ms Martin-Brown was murdered in Alderman Road, Ipswich, the 49-year-old mum-of-five has had to bear the additional burden of the circumstances surrounding her death.
Now Mrs Gardiner has spoken out to set the record straight about the 25-year-old daughter, whose smile she will never see again.
Here, in her own words, she pays a heartachingly honest tribute to the former Chantry High School pupil. Mrs Gardiner also gives a glimpse of the pain her family continue to feel in the aftermath of Ms Martin-Brown's murder.
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Mrs Gardiner, who lives on Ipswich's Chantry estate, said: “It is felt by the family of Cara Martin-Brown that a different insight may now be given to the daughter and sister they love and whom lost her life so tragically last December.
“The caricature given of Cara implies that she was just a vice-girl or prostitute. There has been no suggestion of the person Cara really was.
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In part this has been the fault of the family wishing to keep themselves to themselves and in the circumstances who could blame them.
“From the onset of media attention, Cara was always labelled 'a prostitute'. We as a family could understand that and yet, as time went, by there was no relief from what we as a family saw as a personal attack on Cara's memory.
“Until the trial there was scant mention that Cara was a registered drug addict and as such the occupation she was forced to do in order to feed her habit made her the vulnerable victim of the events that unfurled on that dreadful night last December.
“Cara was the middle child from a family of five siblings, each of whom have very different and distinct personalities.
“Cara's outward personality led people to believe she was quite extrovert and gregarious, whereas in actual fact she was more of a follower than a leader.
“As a child and early teenager Cara struggled immensely with relationships, she was often a loner and followed a strict regime of obsessive behavioural patterns.
“In 2000 Cara was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a disorder which is connected to the autistic spectrum. Whether her obsessive nature allowed her to become involved with drugs is a question we shall never know.
“However, people with Asperger's do tend to be preoccupied with some fanatically pursued interest, therefore all the paraphernalia connected to drugs may well have contributed to Cara's use of them.
“The struggle that Cara must have felt all her life by trying to fit in with society must not detract from the warm and loving person she was.
“Her humour was wicked and we all miss her cheeky smile and responses that she made to us all. Her love for her family knew no bounds and we all each hold special memories that are dear to us individually.
“Her loyalty to others, especially her addict friends, was commendable and I'm sure she is missed sorely by them.
“In retrospect that may seem an unlikely testament to make, however, among her own she was at least liked and loved for the person she was to them.
“At Cara's funeral service the church was full to capacity and her floral tributes were too numerous to count. Cara left behind a legacy that would melt the hardest heart. All the associations connected with drug misuse, and of whom Cara was an integral part, miss her.
“We as her family obviously miss and love her the most of all. This is why we do not want Cara to be remembered as the 'prostitute that was murdered' in Ipswich two days before Christmas, but as Cara the one who if 'love could have saved her' would still be among us today.”