Pictured: Travel agent, 38, killed in ‘knife attack’ at TUI shop
This is the first picture of the travel agent who was killed in a horrific knife attack at a busy travel agents this afternoon.
The victim, named locally as Cassie Hayes, allegedly had her ‘throat slit’ during the attack shortly before 1.30pm at a TUI branch in Southport, Merseyside.
The holiday giant later confirmed that the woman killed was a member of staff.
Detectives have now launched a murder investigation after arresting a 30-year-old man at the scene.
Cassie’s devastated partner, Leah Mcdonald, paid tribute to the 28-year-old on Facebook this afternoon: ‘My absolute world I love you so so much have done since we first met i promise i will look after our girl the best i can.’
Family and friends also paid tribute to the ‘lovely lady’.
Rebecca Spencer posted: ‘So sorry to hear this news, such a lovely person and will be sadly missed xx.’
While friend Helen Harper wrote that she was ‘shocked and heartbroken’.
Police say the incident is believed to have been domestic-related.
A witness had described seeing a woman being stretchered away in an ambulance with her face covered in blood and claimed her throat had been slit.
It is understood shoppers were told to stay inside as police descended on the scene.
Delivery driver Rich Lawson, 27, was dropping off a package at the nearby Vision Express shop when he said he was ushered in and locked inside by staff.
Rich said: ‘When I got there they had locked all the doors. They let me in and locked it behind me and would not let me out. ‘I think the incident was in TUI two doors down. I saw them bring a girl out on a stretcher and putting her into an ambulance.
‘She was covered up but I could see blood on her face. There was a lot of blood and she looked like she was unconscious. They rushed her into the ambulance.
‘I would say she was in her mid 20s. A couple of people have said she was being held hostage.
‘I overheard a lady wearing a TUI uniform on the phone. She was shaking and said her throat was slit but whether that’s true I don’t know.
‘I was in there for about 10 minutes and when I went back to my van and drove past the police riot van was up against the door and it looked like they were bringing a man out of the shop.’
A spokeswoman for Merseyside Police said: ‘Merseyside Police can confirm a murder investigation has been launched following an incident in Southport today, Saturday 13th January.
‘Officers were contacted at 1.25pm following reports that a 28-year-old woman had been injured at the Tui travel agents on Chapel Street.
‘The woman was taken to hospital where she subsequently died from her injuries.
‘The woman’s next of kin have been informed. ‘A 30-year-old man from the Southport area has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently being held in custody.
‘It is believed that the incident was domestic-related.’
A spokesman for TUI told Metro.co.uk: ‘We regret to confirm that a female member of staff at our Southport TUI retail store tragically died in an incident today.
‘We’re doing everything possible to assist the local police with their investigation and support our customers and staff at this difficult time.’
Detectives are appealing for anyone with information to contact Merseyside Police on 101 quoting log 470 of 13th January or the Crimestoppers line anonymously on 0800 555 111.