THE parents of murdered French teenager Celine Figard, found murdered near Worcester five years ago today, still want to know why their daughter was killed.

The police officer who befriended Bernard and Martine Figard during the ordeal following her death and during the trial of her killer, says they continue to be haunted by it.

PC Derek Chandler said they would like to know what drove Stuart Morgan to rape, bludgeon and dump Celine's body next to a lay-by at Hawford, near Worcester, where she was discovered five years ago today.

Lorry driver Morgan was convicted, an overwhelming amount of evidence linking him to Celine's murder.

But PC Chandler said the trial at Worcester Crown Court threw little light on his motives.

"I think this is one of the questions they'd like answered," he said.

"It would've been a great help to the Figards if Stuart Morgan had been more open during the trial. There are things which will remain unknown to the public."

PC Chandler, a former French teacher, built up a lasting friendship with the Figards after acting as interpreter during the trial and giving them assistance in the months leading up to it. He was later commended for his service.

Since then, the father-of-three and his wife have made regular visits to the Figards' home in Ferrires-les-Scey, Haute Sane, near the French-Swiss border.

PC Chandler said the fifth anniversary was likely to be particularly poignant for the family because it fell on the exact day Celine's body was discovered.

"Mr Figard has said to us since that there's never a day goes past without him thinking of her," he added.

PC Chandler praised the "exceptional" 51-year-old farmer and his wife, 48, for their enduring dignity.

"There were certainly some very difficult moments for them in the trial and I think their dignity shone like a beacon," he said.

"M Figard is a very strong-willed, very determined man. He's led his family through this time of tragedy."

PC Chandler said his friend continued to be surprised and touched by the concern of Worcester people leaving flowers at the lay-by.

"My impression is that it's more remembered over here because that was where she was discovered," he said.

"I notice that, if anything, it appears that more and more flowers appear to be going down in the lay-by - even five years afterwards."

PC Chandler believes that as time passes, the Figards will visit Ombersley less in a bid to put the past behind them.

"They have a visit planned next year. Whether they will the following year I don't know," he added.

"To come back here now is probably more M Figard's wish than Mme Figard's.

"I think it's one of the ways he deals with it. He's rather touched by the things which the local people have done in her memory since the tragedy."

Killer trapped by bottles of bubbly

IT was supposed to have been a relaxing return to a place where she had spent a happy summer working alongside her cousin and improving her English.

Instead, Celine Figard's life was brutally snuffed out. She was raped, battered with enough force to break her cheek and jawbone, and dumped naked next to a freezing layby outside Worcester.

Trucker Stuart Morgan, then aged 37, even drove around the country and celebrated Christmas at his Poole, Dorset, home with Celine's body hidden inside the cab parked outside.

The bubbly 19-year-old accountancy student was last seen on December 19 hitching a lift at Chieveley Services at Junction 13 of the M4.

She was heading for Fordingbridge in Hampshire, to spend a fortnight working alongside her cousin Jean-Marc, head waiter at a local hotel.

On Friday, December 29, businessman Arthur Fain stopped at a layby just yards from his home on the A449 in Hawford to fix a windscreen wiper and discovered her body.

The discovery shattered the lives of Celine's family - her mother and father, Bernard and Martine, brothers Stephane and Nicolas, and sister Karine.

More than 100 detectives began the search for the killer and traced more than 1,000 lorry cabs similar to Morgan's.

The investigation prompted the then largest DNA screening ever undertaken, of 5,000 drivers.

In the event, the tests proved a vital strand to the prosecution case - matching Celine's blood type to blood specks around the cab and on a mattress.

The philandering former electrician and trucker - who had a string of mistresses and numerous sexual encounters in his cab - weaved an elaborate story to throw detectives off the scent.

The married father-of-three denied picking Celine up, then claimed they had had consensual sex before he dropped her at Southampton.

He said the blood-soaked mattress stemmed from an episode in 1994 when a man with a gashed leg lay on it while the cab was on loan to another driver.

But the evidence against Morgan was overwhelming. Celine's socks, bra and underwear were found near a Telford depot he had visited.

Witnesses testified to seeing him clean the cab out at his home and seek quotations for a new mattress shortly after the murder.

And, crucially, Celine had brought two bottles of champagne not available in Britain which Morgan later gave to petrol station staff opposite his home as Christmas presents.

He denied murder at the trial in Worcester, but was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Villagers honour Celine's memory

CELINE Figard's murder remains a vivid memory at St Andrew's Church, in Ombersley.

Today, a dozen bouquets of flowers were tied to the spot where her body was discovered in a layby next to the A449 at Hawford - named Le Jardin de Celine in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Her parents, Bernard and Martine, make an annual pilgrimage to the village during autumn to take part in a Sunday service and hear prayers offered in remembrance of their daughter. The church also houses a special memorial garden paid for by donations from county people and dedicated to Celine and "for all young people who have been victims of violence."

Verger Basil Lamb who, with vicar Canon Peter Kerr, welcomes M and Mme Figard to the village each autumn, said prayers and remembrance were made to the Figards at least three times a year as well as at Christmas.

"I think there's still a strong feeling for them judging by the amount of flowers put on the fence at the lay-by," he said.

"The family usually visits in the autumn and comes to the Sunday service.

"You can see they still feel the loss, but they don't show it. They're very dignified. I think that they have come to terms with it."

Mr Lamb said that Celine's murder had touched people living in the village because she came from a similar community.

"She came from a village the same as us and it's obviously something that had never happened to us or her village," he added.

Mr Lamb said the memorial garden was also dedicated to Joanna Parrish and Caroline Dickinson, two teenagers who had been murdered in France in separate incidents.

Both murders remain unsolved.