POLICE officers buried their former colleague Clare Mace on Wednesday after she was stabbed to death at her home in Clayton-le-Moors on Christmas Eve.
Around 60 officers from Nelson police station, where she worked as one of a team of officers responding to calls, formed a guard of honour as hundreds of people paid their last respects.
Clare, 23, died at her home in Sefton Close, Clayton-le-Moors, after being stabbed by her husband Richard, who then committed suicide using the same knife.
St Catherine C of E Church in Burnley was packed to capacity for the moving service, given by Father Roger Parker.
Afterwards he told the Observer: "It was a beautiful service and her colleagues spoke really well of her. It was a sad poignant occasion. All of her colleagues did their best for her."
Her devastated family arrived at the church in four funeral cars with police motorcycles at either end of the procession.
Also among the mourners were Chief Superintendent John Knowles, Burnley divisional commander, and Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Finnigan, from Lancashire Police headquarters.
Clare had lived in Hyndburn for a year with her husband after they met while serving together in the Army. She joined the police force in December 2001 and had recently completed her probationary period.
Her family paid tribute to their "precious, vibrant and chatty" daughter who was also their best friend. Her parents Sue and Tony Brierton added: "We've lost a loving, caring, beautiful daughter and Stacey, 19, has lost her precious sister whom she adored. We're so proud of everything Clare achieved.
"She loved being a police officer and told us constantly that this was her future and she was set up for life doing a job she adored. She'll be sadly missed by everyone who knew her and we'll treasure every memory in our hearts always."
Following the service, Clare was laid to rest at Burnley cemetery. An inquest has been opened into both deaths and has been adjourned until 6 April.
- THIS week also saw the funeral of Richard Mace in his hometown of Middlesbrough. The 26-year-old former Royal Signaller was carried into Teesside Crematorium in a coffin draped in a Union Jack flag. It is believed the couple had split up a week before the tragedy and police are treating the incident as a murder and suicide and are not looking for anyone else.