THE devastated mother of a nurse whose body was found in the boot of a car in Thornton Heath has said her daughter had been "looking forward to the future".
Mother-of-two Janelle Duncan-Bailey was reported missing last Wednesday after she failed to collect her two young sons from a friend's house.
Police launched an appeal to help to find the 25-year-old, but three days later her body was discovered in a parked car in Thornton Heath.
Jerome McDonald, 30, her ex-partner and father of her youngest child, has been charged with murder.
Janelle's mother, Ann Bailey, described her daughter as someone who loved her job and had big plans for life.
Speaking from her Croydon home, she told the Advertiser: "Janelle was a really lovely person. She was very ambitious, studious and hard-working.
"She was a good mum who was looking forward to the future. She was making lots of plans, things she wanted to do with her boys and her own career aspirations.
"I'm so devastated that all those plans will never come to pass."
Ms Bailey spoke of how proud she was that Janelle had raised two boys, aged 2 and 7, while building a career working with special needs children as a mental health nurse for Bupa.
"She was a young woman who had two small children and she was making headway in her life," she said.
"I always told Janelle that I admired her. I wonder whether I would have managed all those things so well.
"She was doing an extremely good job and raised two beautiful boys. I will make sure I carry on her work."
Her cousin, Patrick West-Allwood, described how Janelle would "light up a room".
"She always had this beaming smile on her face and would give you a big hug and a kiss when she saw you," he said.
"You could go out of your way to make sure she was happy because that's the way she made you feel. She was the sort of person who would lift anyone's spirit."
Janelle, of Pawsons Road, was last seen between 5am and 5.30am on January 2 in Limpsfield Avenue, Thornton Heath.
She had left her sons with a friend in Bromley that evening while she attended a family function. Her friend reported Janelle missing when she failed to collect them later that morning.
Janelle's body was discovered in a car in Mayfield Crescent on Saturday.
A postmortem examination gave her cause of death as asphyxiation and compression of the neck.
Her mother said: "There are no words to describe how I feel. The mere fact that I can't even come up with a word should be able to explain how this is just a nightmare. I keep hoping that I will wake up out of it, but I can't so I know it's real.
"Janelle was a lovely person. She had so many friends. She was a sister, cousin, daughter and mum. That she has been taken from us has affected so many people."
Janelle's father, Richard Duncan, added: "Janelle was the apple of my eye. I'm not coping with her death."
Friends and family of Janelle have paid tribute to her in a makeshift shrine of flowers, candles and messages in Mayfield Crescent.
One friend wrote: "Janelle, I should not be writing this; you should be home with your princes."
On Saturday McDonald, 30, of Fairlands Avenue, Thornton Heath, was arrested and then charged with murder.
He appeared at the Old Bailey on Wednesday and was remanded in custody until a hearing on April 5.