A Chinese student who fell to her death from a balcony was an “angel” with a “shining smile”, her mother told hundreds of mourners at a Buddhist service in Sydney today.

Asian students carrying flowers and pink lotus candles joined the 18-year-old’s mother and stepfather at the service held in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

The student’s tearful mother Wu Liping said her daughter was an “angel” who had a “beautiful short life”.

“Her sudden leave has taken away all the joy, happiness and hope of my family,” Wu said through an interpreter.

“No longer can we hear her sweet angelic voice calling mum and dad. No longer can we see her beautiful, shining smile.

“She … has always made us proud and happy,” she said.

The young woman’s boyfriend did not attend the service — he is in hospital with severe spinal injuries after the couple jumped from the the balcony of their apartment on October 26 to escape an armed intruder who allegedly sexually assaulted them.

They were both found naked on the concrete 20m below and the woman died at the scene.

Today, Buddhist monks in traditional brown robes led a parade carrying the young woman’s coffin.

The white casket, with a smiling photograph of the teenager with sleek, bobbed hair on top, was decorated with flowers and placed beneath a larger blown-up photo.

Wu nodded as civil celebrant Ian Toll spoke of her daughter’s “beautiful smile, positive attitude and generous nature”.

Members of Sydney’s Buddhist community united in harmonious chanting to bless the coffin.

Wu, who lost her home and business in the Sichuan earthquake earlier this year, told mourners of a tough year. “Just after we recovered from the aftershock of the earthquake in my hometown was the unfortunate news of the death of my daughter.”

Wu, who has no other children, arrived in Sydney last week with her husband, Fa Heng He.

At the service she offered her thanks to Australia and said she had been overwhelmed by local support.

Wu said she hoped Brendon David Dennison, 26, the man charged with her daughter’s murder and rape would be appropriately punished. Chris Norton, principal of Sydney’s Taylors College, where the young woman studied accountancy, offered his sympathies to mourners. “I understand your sense of loss,” he said. “Things will never be the same again.”

Norton described the woman as mature, confident and content.

After the ceremony, mourners placed floral tributes to the woman, as photos of her life were projected onto a screen to the sound of her favourite songs.

Mourners also wrote tributes in Chinese and in English on a selection of blown up photos of the young woman on a board outside the hall.

“You were very strong all the time. I admire you for that,” said one woman named Karina.

“No matter what happens, you will be remembered forever,” said another mourner.

The funeral was followed by a cremation at North Ryde this afternoon.

Solicitor Karrina Chen, who has been looking after the family since they arrived in Australia, said Wu was struggling to accept her daughter’s death.

“She is very sad. She still can’t accept that she’s gone,” she said.