The tiny, butterfly-covered coffin of a nine-year-old girl who was stabbed to death was taken by horse and carriage as hundreds of mourners lined the streets for her funeral.
Young Lilia Valutyte was stabbed as she played hula hoop with her little sister outside a café where her mum was working on July 28 in Boston, Lincolnshire.
Today, the schoolgirl was carried to St Botolph’s Church with her funeral procession making its way through Boston town centre.
The service will then be followed by a private burial this afternoon which will only be attended by Lilia’s family.
Swathes of people from the local community who were left shaken by her death turned out to pay their respects.
Her coffin was brightly decorated with dozens of 3D butterflies while the horses were seen wearing pink feather headdresses.
One mourner, Magdalene Lowe, 78, shared a moving message for Lilia’s family and said: “I’m very sad and I wish there was more I could do. Just coming here helps.
“We are all thinking about her and her family. If you ever need help, we are there for you.”
Lilia’s stepfather, Aurelijus Savickas, 32, also paid tribute to her last month, saying: “She was cheeky; quiet in one way and then other ways she wasn’t.
“She always tried to make fun.”
Mum Lina added: “It’s hard to know what to say.
“She was just a normal child, one day she’s happy and another she isn’t, one day she wants to eat pancakes and another she doesn’t – the usual things.
“She loved to dance, travel and try new things, and annoy her sister.
“She wanted to go to Italy, so we will probably go anyway next year.”
An inquest opening at Lincoln Coroner’s Court on August 4 heard Lilia’s provisional cause of death was a stab wound to the chest.
The coroner adjourned the inquest until the conclusion of criminal proceedings.
Deividas Skebas, 22, was remanded into custody at Lincoln Crown Court on August 1 charged with her murder.
Skebas, of Thorold Street, Boston, is next due to appear at Lincoln Crown Court for a plea hearing on September 19. He is yet to enter a plea to the murder charge.
Lilia, a former pupil of Boston Pioneers Academy and Carlton Road Academy, was confirmed dead at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital following the incident in the market town in July.
Announcing plans for a memorial to be installed in the town, close to the street where Lilia died, Lina said: “Lilia was grown in that street, every week she spent down there playing, and it happened next to the window.
“The memorial is a way for her to still be there, and we’re now fundraising to get it.”