Picture Gallery - Hundreds attend candle lit vigil for Casey Lyanne Kearney

HUNDREDS of people turned out to pay their respects to murdered schoolgirl Casey Kearney at a candlelit vigil last night.

Friends, school pals, family and shocked members of the public gathered outside Elmfield Park, where the 13-year-old was fatally stabbed on Tuesday.

Officers opened the gates to the public for the first time since the attack to allow mourners to place flowers, teddy bears and messages of grief around the fountain inside the park.

Tearful school pal Chelsea Reeve, 13, said: “She was so bubbly and quiet but just the nicest girl. She was absolutely beautiful. She’s going to be missed so much.”

Sophie Garbutt, 14, added: “I was so shocked when I heard this had happened. I really wanted to come along to pay my respects. I used to live near her. She was so lovely.”

Declan Mullen, 14, of Rossington, said: “I used to have maths classes with Casey. I heard about what had happened on Facebook and I couldn’t believe it.”

School friend Courtney Blake, 14, added: “We weren’t close friends but she was a really nice girl. I think school are going to hold a mass for her.”

Nineteen-year-old mum Stacey Rathbone, of Wheatley, said: “I came to pay my respects. I’ve got a one-year-old daughter and I’ve already said she is never going into the park.

“I just had to come to pay my respects as I’ve been so shocked by the news.”

Photos: Malcolm Billingham & Ross Parry Agency

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