Ex-boyfriend admits stab murder

Mid Devon Star: Hairdresser Hollie Gazzard was stabbed to death Hairdresser Hollie Gazzard was stabbed to death

The ex-boyfriend of a hairdresser stabbed to death while working at a salon has admitted her murder.

Asher Maslin, 22, pleaded guilty to killing Hollie Gazzard during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court.

He murdered the 20-year-old hairdresser as she worked at Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty salon in Gloucester city centre on February 18.

During the attack, and as paramedics and police officers desperately tried to save Miss Gazzard's life, bystanders were filming on their mobile phones.

A post-mortem examination found she died from multiple stab wounds.

Miss Gazzard had used her Twitter account to hint at her on/off relationship with an ex-boyfriend.

One tweet, written last December, said: "Why are people so selfish?! If a person isn't happy within the relationship why try and make them stay?!"

Another, a retweet sent just a few weeks before she died, said: "Sometimes holding on is a sign of weakness."

Following her death, Miss Gazzard's family said "the brightest star" in their lives had gone out.

"She was full of life and we are very proud of her. She was at the beginning of her life and to have it taken away in this manner is very hard to bear," they said.

"The world has lost a treasure, she was so loved by all her family and friends and the brightest star in their lives has now gone out."

Since Miss Gazzard's death, her family have set up a charitable trust in her name, to sponsor the training of young hairdressers and contribute towards the fight against domestic violence.

She started work in the hairdressing industry aged 16 after being offered an apprenticeship on leaving school.

In April, hundreds of people took part in a walk from Gloucester to Cheltenham to raise money for the charitable trust.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched an investigation into Gloucestershire Police's contact with Miss Gazzard before her death.

Miss Gazzard's family - including her father Nick, 49, mother Mandy, 46, and elder sister Chloe, 23 - sat in the public gallery to see Maslin enter his plea.

Maslin, who wore a black knitted jumper and dark trousers, spoke only to confirm his name and plead guilty.

Peter Blair QC, defending, said the delay in Maslin entering his plea was to see whether there were any psychiatric issues in the case but the court heard there were not.

"Yesterday afternoon I was having a final conference at Horfield Prison and he made it plain that he wished to plead guilty," Mr Blair said.

"We have not been able to put together the material which your lordship needs to have before you in assessing what the minimum term of a life sentence will be before the Parole Board considers him for release."

He asked that Maslin not be sentenced before June 23.

Prosecutor Stephen Mooney did not open the case against Maslin.

Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, remanded Maslin into custody and said he was likely to be sentenced by a High Court judge.

He told Maslin: "Your sentencing will take place on a date to be fixed in the relative near future.

"You appreciate that the only sentence that can be imposed is one - imprisonment for life.

"It will be for the sentencing judge to determine the minimum term you will serve before you become eligible for parole.

"In the meantime you will be remanded into custody."

Maslin, of Benhall Gardens, Cheltenham, had been due to go on trial at Gloucester Crown Court on July 14.

Miss Gazzard's family did not wish to speak after the hearing.

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