In her statement, Heather’s sister Denise Le Voir wrote: “We had all looked forward to life getting a bit easier for Heather as the children entered their teens and left her more time for visits and activities away from home.

“The major sadness for her family is that, through her early death, she missed the joy of watching Caitlin perform on stage, do well in her exams and develop her career.

“As Terry was a little older she had been able to take pride in his mountain bike racing and interest in the technical side of bikes, but missed out on his career and interest in business. She would have been thrilled at the recent arrival of her nephew and of her niece’s son and would have been busy knitting for them.

“Heather was murdered on the date of our late parents’ wedding anniversary and just before Terry’s birthday. She was only 48 years of age.

“We were due to meet to go Christmas shopping in London a couple of weeks after she was killed. Due to my illness this would have been the first face to face meeting since February 2002. Since November 2002 family events and anniversaries have been marred by Heather’s absence.

“We would particularly like to say how grateful we are to those who looked after Caitlin, particularly over the last seven years.

“Protecting the children from personal publicity has been of concern throughout the last eight years. The local newspapers, television and radio have acted responsibly for which we are grateful, however the international dimensions cause us concern for the future of our privacy and that of the children.

“Heather’s life was worth far more than the notoriety of the manner of her death.

“Heather’s murder produced big emotional ripples among her friends and acquaintances, particularly in Sturminster Newton where she was born and brought up and in Charminster where she had made her home.

“These go on with friends finding it hard to watch the local TV news or read the newspaper as each reminder takes them back to that awful November.

“There remains great anger that the perpetrator left Heather’s mutilated body for the children to find on their return from school. This still seems a deliberate act of great cruelty.”