MISS PERU, MARIA JULIA MANTILLA GARCIA has been named this year's (04) winner of the MISS WORLD beauty pageant in Sanya, China.

The Latin American beauty, 20, beat MISS DOMINICAN REPUBLIC CLAUDIA JULISSA and MISS UNITED STATES NANCY RANDALL to win the coveted title at Beauty Crown Theatre in the resort town of Sanya in the tropical island province of Hainan.

Soul star Lionel Richie entertained the crowd before Garcia was presented with her crown by 2003 MISS WORLD, Irish stunner Rosanna Davison, daughter of singer Chris De Burgh.

Garcia gushes, "I am so happy and surprised - it is one of the few things I have always wanted. I was surprised, yes, very surprised but am very happy too.

"Sorry I can't speak much English, I need to learn more."

Garcia has won $100,000 (GBP52,000) in prize money and will travel around the world to charitable events as part of her year-long Miss World duties.

06/12/2004 21:48