‘The sun has set and now your soul has been set free’

IPSWICH: As one devastated Ipswich family today struggles to come to terms with the agony of the past week, hundreds of messages of love and support continue to flood in.

They have lost their daughter, sister, aunt and friend.

Sarah Shields’ family’s worst fears were realised on Thursday when police confirmed the body found off the southern coast of Gran Canaria was that of the beloved 23-year-old.

They reported Sarah as missing last Sunday when she failed to return home to the new flat she shared with boyfriend Chris Chittock, in Alnesbourn Crescent, from her holiday on the Spanish island.

The 36-year-old appeared in court yesterday. He is charged with perverting the course of justice and has also been bailed on suspicion of Sarah’s murder.

Today, as Sarah would have been celebrating her 24th birthday, the outpouring of love and support for her family and friends is astounding.

Thanking friends and strangers her niece Stacey Stephenson said yesterday: “We are grateful for your thoughts. We thank you all for your kind words, all comments have been so sweet and thoughtful.”

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And Sarah’s brother Paul Davis added: “RIP little sister.”

Friend Kirsti Hayman paid tribute to Sarah on the social networking website Facebook. She said: “The angels came down an took u away.

“Now resting in peace that’s where u will stay.

“The sun has set and your soul’s been set free.

“But in out hearts is where u will always be!

“RIP sweetheart, gonna miss u loads.”

Work colleagues expressed their shock at Sarah’s failure to turn up for work on Monday.

A spokesman for BOC, on the Hadleigh Road Industrial Estate where Sarah worked, said: “Colleagues at BOC Ipswich were deeply saddened to hear of Sarah Shields death and would like to send their condolences to her family and friends.

“Sarah was not a BOC employee but had been working with us via an agency for approximately nine months.”

And work colleague Sian Taylor added: “I’m absolutely devastated. I work with Sarah and we were all so worried when she didn’t come back to work on Monday and no one knew where she was.

“I was hoping she’d turn up with some funny story about missing her flight or something and now this has happened. Everytime I turn round and she’s not at her computer I just feel awful.

“I still can’t accept she’s gone, I don’t know if I ever will.

“God bless you darling, you will always be in my heart and in the back of my mind. Miss you always.”

On Facebook friends have continued to send in messages remembering Sarah as a fun-loving girl who was happy in life.

One revealed she auditioned to star on this year’s Big Brother and another remembered her as a “friendly, polite and caring girl.”

Mark Green said: “R.I.P Sarah, I will miss you. We had a laugh when we auditioned for Big Brother this year and last year xxxx.”

And Annaliese Woodger added: “Sarah, I remember you as a friendly, polite and caring girl.

“I really was fond of you and I certainly had so much respect for your family as they made me so welcome when we visited each other.

“R.I.P Sarah. You will be always be in my thoughts xxxxx.”

And Sarah-Jayne Taylor said: “You have eternal life princess. You will live on in our thoughts dreams and hearts.

“You an angel and star and we will smile for you and the times we share xxxx.”

n Send us your messages of love for Sarah’s family and tributes to her. Call the Newsdesk on 01473 324790 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

n See Comment, page 6