THE parents of a murdered Brightlingsea teenager have spoken of their pain and emptiness.

The jury in the trial into the indecent assault and murder of Liberty Templeman, 15, took ten-and-a-half hours to find a 16-year-old boy guilty of both charges.

The former pupil of Colne Community School was beaten unconscious and strangled, and her body left face down in a stream in the town of Kerikeri, New Zealand, in November 2008.

Liberty's mum Rebecca, speaking for the first time since her only daughter died, struggled to express the anguish of her loss.

She described the 15-year-old, known to friends as Libby, who moved from Brightlingsea to New Zealand with her family, as tenacious, free-spirited and a natural mediator.

Mrs Templeman said: “Libby had managed to capture the essence of living life to the full without the boundaries of being foolish.

“Above all, she loved her family and friends and was loved in return for her openness and honesty."

Almost 16 months after Libby was murdered, her family have settled in Auckland, New Zealand, and are struggling to come to terms with life without Libby.

Mrs Templeman said: “Every day, just for a moment, everything is normal. But then the reality sets in and our lives are very different. We have to learn to breathe again.”

* A full version of this exclusive interview appeared in the Gazette today, Monday