It was a bittersweet day for the close friends of murdered schoolgirl Ellie Gould.

Harriet Adams, Raven Duran and Tilda Offen are preparing to part ways as they head off to university and are well aware of the unfathomable gap left by their much-missed friend.

They say that Ellie often talked about wanting to study psychology at university and become a criminal psychologist.

Tilda is planning to study English literature after taking a year out to spend some time working with the Wiltshire Police Specials but she and her friends are finding it tough to move on.

She said: “It’s hard to talk about – sad doesn’t cover it, there’s not a word for it. I feel empty about it. I’ve tried to block it out.

“Ellie always spoke to me about doing psychology because she wanted to get into the minds of criminals, it’s ironic.

“It’s the same field of work as me because I’ve always wanted to be in the police and joining the special unit is a good way of getting your foot in the door.”

Harriet Adams is studying TV and film production at the Royal Holloway in London after a childhood dream of filmmaking and directing mixed with a newfound fascination for the behind-the-scenes work that went into all the media interviews she has had over the last year.

She added: “It feels like starting a new chapter but without wanting to forget the last. When we left school, it was really challenging because sixth form had become more than just an education, it was the last place and time we saw Ellie and is full of all the memories we had with her before it happened.

“It feels like we’re leaving her behind and it’s hard to remind yourself that she would want us to carry on and she’ll always be with us wherever we go in the future.

“When you talk about it, you start reliving what you were doing on the day, the emotions come rushing back and it’s like you’re back there again.”

Tilda agreed: “You become so used to spouting the same answers, you get numb to it. It’s always talking about a certain point, like when I called Ellie’s mum and it wasn’t working, that bit always gets me, it hits hard.

"I feel the pain that I should have felt that day. At the time, I was just in shock.”

Ellie’s mum Carole got them lockets engraved with Follow Your Dreams and a picture of Ellie inside it to provide some close-at-hand comfort as they move forward with their lives.

Carole said: “It’s heartbreaking that that monster Thomas Griffiths has denied her all of the opportunities she had in front of her. He’s denied her a future, it’s unforgivable. I know she would have been so enthusiastic and excited about going to university.

“His parents still live in the area and have shown no remorse towards us at all, it’s insensitive.”

Raven is studying songwriting at Brighton University after she penned Thunder to help process the grief of losing one of her closest friends, which sparked a desire to write more.

She said: “Writing Thunder was a turning point because it made me realise that I really enjoy songwriting and that I wanted to do it

“It’s easier to write songs if there’s a topic I feel strongly about, it’s something I have to find inspiration for, I can’t just pick a subject and write about it.

“I want to put out a message with my songs that makes a difference, to make music that people can relate to, and write about things that are difficult to talk about which helps people going through something similar.”

Carole added: “This won’t ever leave them. They will carry this trauma. Thankfully, they’re not letting it destroy their lives and they’re moving forward but the trauma will always be carried with them, it’s a deep emotional scarring.”

READ MORE: Their push to have self-defence classes in schools continues as they feel it could save lives