Victim three: Shelley took the wrong path at age of 16 and descended into a world of vice and shame

THE heartbreaking sight of Shelley Marie Armitage's remains being carried in a child's coffin at her funeral was a grim postscript to a life ruined by drink and drugs.

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About 300 mourners were at Bradford's St Francis of Assisi Catholic Church to pay their respects to Ms Armitage, 31, who was a close friend of fellow victim Suzanne Blamires.

The 2ft 6in light wood coffin, carried by her brother Carl Armitage and boyfriend Craig Preston, reminded all present that, although police are convinced she was murdered, most of her body is yet to be found.

The tragedy has been devastating for Ms Armitage's relatives and companions, who watched for years as their "much-loved daughter, girlfriend and friend" rejected offers of help and descended into a world of vice and shame.

"She was kind and loving even when her life changed," her family said.

"She cared and helped everyone, especially the girls on the streets."

Her mother, Gill, said: "Shelley was very much loved and will be very sadly missed by us all.

"Unfortunately she took the wrong path at the young age of 16 when she became a victim of heroin. Her death will haunt us for the rest of our lives."

Lifelong friend Lynsey Barron said Ms Armitage had ambitions of modelling and travelling the world.

The pair met in the mid-1990s while studying at St Joseph's College in Bradford, not far from where Ms Armitage would later work the streets.

"There was potential there and Shelley could have been a beautiful model," Ms Barron said.

"We would have sleepovers as teenagers, share our love of music and talk about modelling.

"We both started drugs but she never managed to get out of that spiral.

"I moved to Leeds to get away from it all because I thought it was time to sort my life out.

"I would just like people to remember the good side of her. She was caring, friendly and compassionate."

Ms Armitage, who was born in Bradford on September 22, 1978, went missing from the city's red-light district on the evening of April 26 this year.

Her disappearance surprised her family, who told police she was devoted to her new pet, a puppy, and could not bear to be away from it for too long.

She had been due to be sentenced in June for assaulting a police officer, but the case was dropped after a piece of her spine was found in the river Aire at Shipley, a short distance from where the remains of Ms Blamires were found.

Ms Armitage lived and worked as a prostitute in Huddersfield before she moved to Bentcliffe Walk in Bradford last year.

She and Ms Blamires lived only three streets apart and they would meet regularly to chat and drink together.