Beaming with shared joy and delight, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were pictured in haunting selfies dancing with fairy lights at the end of a magical night.
The pictures captured the sisters’ life of friendship and love just as their lives were about to be needlessly snuffed out by Danyal Hussein, a complete stranger.
At the time, in June last year, the nation had battled through the first Covid-19 lockdown and people were beginning to tentatively emerge to meet friends and family in small groups outside.
The sisters appeared bursting with excitement as they prepared for a party in Fryent Country Park to celebrate Ms Henry’s birthday.
Ms Smallman danced a jig and happily chatted with strangers at the checkout of a Co-op store where they bought drinks.
More CCTV showed them walking side-by-side into the park loaded up with blankets, cushions and picnic items.
The positive attitude to life so keenly embraced by the sisters was reflected in words on one of the cushions, which was later found in a refuse centre stained with blood.
It read: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass – it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
Despite the difference in age, Ms Smallman was 27 and Ms Henry 46, their closeness as siblings was clear in the evidence heard in Hussein’s trial.
Ms Henry was a respected social worker, she loved people and making a difference in the lives of others.
Both sisters, who once shared a flat, were popular and had a wide circle of friends.
They loved music, dancing and going to music festivals together.
Ms Smallman, who worked in hospitality, had a passion for arts, and in particular photography.
She had lived with her 35-year-old boyfriend Adam Stone, a video editor, at his parents’ house before recently moving into a shared flat.
Mr Stone had given her a pet bearded dragon which they both doted on.
He did not attend Ms Henry’s birthday party but was in contact with his girlfriend by text message throughout the night and gave her money for a taxi to ensure she got home safely.
In a final text message, Ms Smallman told him she was dancing – which was borne out by 150 selfies taken by mobile phone with a clicker.
In the final picture, the sisters’ attention appeared to be distracted by something lurking in the gloom to the left at 1.13am.
Police believe that was the moment teenage killer Hussein launched his savage attack on the two petite women.
Ms Henry would have been taken by surprise and was stabbed eight times before collapsing.
Ms Smallman bravely fought back, sustaining defensive injuries as she was repeatedly stabbed.
Hussein then dragged them into bushes, where they lay top to toe, tragically entwined as closely in death as they were in life.
The sisters’ mother is The Venerable Mina Smallman, who was the Church of England’s first female archdeacon of black and minority ethnic descent.
Mrs Smallman, who retired in 2016, along with the sisters’ fathers Chris Smallman and Herman Henry, listened to details of their deaths during the trial at the Old Bailey.
At the conclusion of the trial, the mother of three said her daughters shared a “special bond”.
On her eldest daughter, she said: “Bibaa was always working with people, trying to get the best out of them, motivate them. It was no surprise when she turned to social work.”
Ms Smallman, known as Nikki, was a quiet and unassuming “social butterfly”.
Her mother said: “She was an all-rounder. She had a wonderful singing voice, she could sing anything.
“Nikki also loved animals, in particular Hakku, the bearded dragon she shared with Adam.”
Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding praised their “dignity” throughout the harrowing case.