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Fairytale castle in honour of the 'little princess' killed by her mum.

Byline: TYLER MEARS Reporter tyler.mears@walesonline.co.uk

t's been a year since little Amelia Brooke Harris died.

IThe four-year-old, affectionately known as "Princess Amelia", was found dead after being killed by her mother Carly Ann Harris. The 38-year-old - who thought she was sacrificing her pretty, brown-haired daughter "to save the world" - was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity during a trial and was detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act.

On the anniversary of Amelia's tragic death, a beautiful headstone in the shape of a fairytale castle was placed on her grave.

During a memorial held at Penrhys Cemetery in Rhondda on Saturday, friends and family gathered to pay tribute to the "sweet, lovely little daddy's girl" by releasing balloons and playing Disney songs.

The pink and purple headstone was paid for thanks to donations from the local community and businesses and was organised by family friend Nikki Morgan, whose fouryear-old daughter was best friends with Amelia.

Amelia's grandmother Catherine Edgell - the mother of Amelia's dad Matthew - wants to thank everyone for their love and support over what has been a truly horrific year for the family.

"The past year has been hard, very hard. With the trial and everything, it's been very stressful," Catherine said.

"Amelia was so sweet and lovely. She was a sassy little diva. I remember I'd walk into the kitchen and she'd grab her dad's hand and say, 'I can do what I want, I'm with my daddy now.' She was a little bossy boots - her finger would come out and she'd point at you.

"It doesn't get any easier." On the evening of June 8, Amelia was eating sweets on the sofa. Her mum carried her upstairs and told her: "You're going to see the angels. See you in heaven."

Neighbours in Trealaw reported hearing Amelia's cries as her mother carried out the horrendous act.

Catherine, 55, was at home in Beddau that night when a relative phoned to say Amelia had died.

"We couldn't get past [the cordon] and a police officer came up and told me it was my granddaughter. He said: 'I can't let you come past. It's horrific.'" Catherine said her son has struggled to cope with his daughter's death.

"He's had his moments, but he's working through it. He should be very proud of himself. The fact that he's getting up every day and going to work - he's doing well. Day by day he's getting stronger and stronger. He speaks about her a lot and misses her terribly.

"Amelia was a proper daddy's girl and they had a fab relationship. They loved watching films and munching, and he'd take her to the park."

Catherine says Amelia's memory is kept very much alive in their family - and her other grandchildren still ask about Amelia.

"We're always talking about her," she said. "We talk about her to my other grandchildren. We found that very hard at first. It was hard having to explain to them."

It was also difficult for the family when the case came to court about six months after Amelia's death.

The court heard in tragic and traumatic detail how Amelia's mother drowned and burned her before covering her body with a white sheet.

Harrowing evidence read to the jury suggested she had planned the killing. Giving evidence, consultant psychiatrist Arden Tomison said he believed Harris was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and she had an "absolute conviction" she had done the right thing.

Catherine described the whole process as "hell".

"Reliving it in court was hard because we had to watch a video of her [Harris'] interview. Everyone was crying, but we were trying our hardest to keep it together."

At the end of the trial, the judge thanked Catherine, Matthew and their family for remaining so calm and composed.

"We've had a lot of family and friends supporting us, and Nikki and my sister have been marvellous - everyone has been," Catherine said.

In the months following Amelia's death, family friend and mother-ofthree Nikki, with the help of friend Gary Harris, started to raise money for Amelia's funeral.

"When someone passes away it's hard enough anyway let alone when you've got to think of money and the funeral," Nikki, 33, said.

"So, I just thought - if I can raise some money, Amelia can have a really nice send-off. I know her family would have given her the same send-off, but there would have been that added pressure of finding the money to pay for it - on top of all of their grief. So, I just wanted to help.

"Amelia was like my niece - she called me Auntie Nikki. She's the same age as my daughter Italia-Rose. They were like sisters - they were inseparable.

"It was so hard to deal with what happened and I think I just kind of went into autopilot - and the fundraising gave me something to focus on. I thought - everybody is going through enough, so if I can make their experience a little bit easier, then I will."

Nikki and Gary started planning a fundraising event, selling tickets as well as holding a raffle which included signed pictures of Anthony Joshua, sports tickets and merchandise, spa and golf vouchers.

They raised more than PS3,000 which helped pay for a white hearse, white butterfly coffin and flowers at Amelia's funeral. The rest was put towards the headstone, which was placed at her grave this week and partly donated by Griffith Memorials in Trealaw.

The family also received a lot of support from the 2 Wish Upon a Star charity which provided counselling sessions to friends and relatives including the children.

Speaking about the support they have received from the local community, Catherine said: "The fundraising has just been fab.

"I was so pleased and thankful to Nikki and Gary - they've done us proud.

"It took a lot of pressure off the family and Amelia had the funeral she deserved."

CAPTION(S):

Amelia Brooke Harris aged 4

<B The new headstone at the grave of Amelia Brooke Harris in Penrhys Cemetery James Davies
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 10, 2019
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