The family of Leonne Weeks have paid tribute to the 'beautiful and amazing' South Yorkshire schoolgirl, branding the teenager today jailed for her murder an 'evil' and 'cold-blooded killer'.
After 14 months of agony the family of Leonne Weeks finally saw justice being served today, when her murderer Shea Peter Heeley, 19, of Doe Quarry Lane, Dinnington was jailed for life, serving a minimum of 24-and-a-half years.
Speaking outside court, Leonne's family bravely delivered these heartfelt statements:
Leonne's dad, Darran Weeks, whose statement was read by Danny Bowskill, said: “My beautiful daughter Leonne was 16-years-old and full of life. She had such a caring nature and was loved by everyone around her.
“On 15th January 2017 my life changed forever. She was taken away from me by the evil act of a cold-hearted killer. This destroyed me. As a father I wasn’t there to protect my daughter and I felt helpless.
“As a Dad, I never expected to bury my daughter and this was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
“I hope the justice system does the right thing on behalf of myself and my family, so that no other family has to go through the pain and hurt I live with every day.
“Lastly, can I just thank all the police services and people involved for their support and dedication in bringing my daughter’s killer to justice."
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In a statement read by her aunty, Mandy Westropp, Leonne’s mum Paula Appley, added: “Losing a daughter is every parent’s worst nightmare.
“Leonne was a beautiful, loving and amazing daughter. She had her whole life ahead of her. She had everything to look forward to. We were looking forward to living that life with her.
“Not a day has gone by when I don’t cry. It really doesn’t get any easier, the pain is there constantly.
“My whole family has fallen apart. Both Levi, Leonne’s twin, and Millie her little sister are struggling, unable to lead a normal life.
“No amount of time her murderer spends in prison will bring her back. We will all have to live with our loss for the rest of our lives.”
In a victim impact statement read out in court, Levi and Millie Weeks, Leonne’s twin brother and younger sister, respectively, said: “Losing our big sister is the hardest thing we have had to go through.
“Leonne was a beautiful, loving and caring person. She wouldn’t hurt anyone. She loved all of her brothers and sisters.
“We love her more and more each day. Until we meet again Princess. Rest in paradise.”