09/11/2012 10:43 GMT | Updated 09/11/2012 11:27 GMT

Karina Menzies, Hit-And-Run Victim, Buried In 'Leopard Skin' Coffin

A fashion-mad mother of three killed in a hit-and-run rampage was buried in a leopard skin-patterned coffin as hundreds celebrated her life today.

Karina Menzies, 31, died after throwing her two young daughters to safety as a van knocked down pedestrians in Cardiff, South Wales, three weeks ago.

Her final act of heroism ensured the two daughters with her at the time survived the unprovoked attack in which she lost her life.

karina menzies

Pallbearers carry the leopard skin style coffin containing Karina Menzies, led by her brothers Craig (front) and Gareth (front hidden)

Mourners at a special church service in the city's Ely district were reduced to tears today as poignant messages from her daughters were read out.

The close-knit community is still reeling from the tragic events of October 19 in which Ms Menzies died and 13 others were injured.

Sister Sam Menzies spoke out publicly today to vow to look after her sister's three orphaned daughters.

karina menzies

Mourners hug as they leave the Church of Ressurection, Ely, near Cardiff after the service of Karina Menzies

Other family members did the same at an emotionally charged funeral service at the Church of the Resurrection in Ely.

Up to 300 people were earlier reduced to tears as vicar Reverend Jan Gould read out personal messages from the children to their mother.

In a frequently tearful service the leopard skin-patterned coffin was carried into the church by six sobbing family and friends.

It had been drawn through the streets by two large black horses pulling an ornate glass hearse decorated with a single floral tribute of carnations spelling out the word "mum."