A TEENAGE schoolgirl who committed suicide after she was taunted by bullies was laid to rest yesterday amid wreaths of red roses painted black and watched by her weeping family and school friends.

As Nicola Raphael, 15, went to her grave, the mother of one of her school friends, who has also been bullied at Lenzie Academy, said she would sue the school.

Nicola, who was found dead by her family on Sunday after taking an overdose of painkillers, was carried into St Columba's church in Kirkintilloch in a white coffin trimmed with black ribbons as more than 400 mourners, including many of her school friends wearing goth outfits, gathered to say a final farewell.

Nicola had been bullied at school because of her goth style of clothes and make-up.

Her mother, Mrs Rona Raphael, 48, supported by brothers Christopher, 18, and David, 22, and her father David Raphael, 49, led family mourners.

They wept openly as their daughter's coffin was laid at the foot of the altar while Eric Clapton's Tears In Heaven - the song he wrote in tribute to his son who died in an accident - played.

Nicola's friends comforted each other as the Rev Mark Johnstone paid tribute to her wacky sense of humour and dress sense.

''Whether it was her changing hair colour, the black nail varnish on her fingers and toes, the stud in place in her belly button and even in her tongue, and a few chains . . . from the tips of her toes to the ends of her hair, she took great care of how she looked. But she was also quite clearly fun-loving and she was always pushing the boundaries and challenging convention.''

He said the circumstances of her death were particularly tragic and would be difficult for many to understand. But he urged mourners not to apportion blame or seek simple answers.

''There are so many unanswered questions. What was going through her mind that day, that night? Why did this happen? But I do not believe there are any simple answers.

''Life is more mysterious than many of us are willing to admit.''

During the 50-minute service, Mr Johnstone also compared Nicola to her favourite characters in the cartoon South Park.

''When she went to meet Rona from her work, the men in the office in their smart suits and briefcases would be shocked and challenged by the four-letter word on her T-shirt or her South Park socks . . . like her favourite characters Stan and Cartman, she was always pushing the boundaries.''

The traditional service included readings from the Book of Wisdom and the gospel of John as well as conventional hymns.

Nicola's brother David read a short poem before her school friends Eleanor McCluskey and Claire Rodgers spoke. Through tears, Eleanor said: ''What a girl. She had an amazing personality and such a strong character. She will always remain in our hearts and forever be a star.''

Claire added: ''She was never afraid to stand up for what she believed in. . . . It is sad we will never see that daft grin again.''

Scores of floral tributes and numerous single white orchids were left at the graveside after the interment at Old Aisle Cemetery, Kirkintilloch.

Four single red roses, left by Nicola's parents and brothers, and a Korn (an American rock band) T-shirt, left by a school friend, were laid on her coffin.

A card from Nicola's parents read: ''We will love and miss you forever, see you soon darlin', love and kisses, mum and dad.''

Nicola's heart, kidneys, and other organs were removed, and have already saved the lives of three children in Manchester and London.

Meanwhile, the mother of a school friend of Nicola yesterday promised to sue Lenzie Academy.

Barbara Evans said her daughter Ashley, 15, had also been bullied, and is threatening to take legal action against the education authority for failing to provide her daughter with a proper education in a safe environment.

An East Dunbartonshire Council spokesman said: ''The allegations of bullying are of serious concern to the school and the council. Lenzie Academy, like other schools in East Dunbartonshire, has a strict anti-bullying policy, which the education authority endorses and supports.''