A pretty young hairdresser was horrifically stabbed to death during a late opening session at her salon.
Tragic Hollie Gazzard, 20, was attacked at Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty Salon in Gloucester at 5.50pm on Tuesday.
Neighbours reported hearing screaming and shouting from the premises and called the police.
Paramedics desperately tried to save her but she later died at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
The man arrested in connection with the murder is Hollie’s ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin, her best friend said. Gloucestershire Police yesterday said Hollie knew her attacker.
Devastated Kayleigh Bishop, 20, says her mate Hollie and Asher, 22, had an ”on off” relationship which had ended mid-January.
Kayliegh said the pair met in Gloucester where he has family a year ago and lived together at his home in London for a few months last year until she moved back.
But she confirmed Asher – who also uses the surname Thomas – is now the man being questioned by police in connection with ”bubbly and friendly” Hollie’s murder.
Hollie had recently tweeted about an apparent break-up, writing on December 10: “Why are people so selfish?! If a person isn’t happy within the relationship why try and make them stay?!”
Police yesterday refused to comment on Twitter rumours that she was stabbed with a pair of scissors.
Local resident Alec Rosam, 30, who lives just across the road from the salon, said: “I heard some screaming and shouting coming from the direction of the hairdressers about 5pm.
“I didn’t think much about it at the time because there is a B&B hotel opposite me where there is often trouble.
“But when I came out of my flat later there were four police cars and an ambulance outside the hairdressers.”
The care worker added: “I was shocked when I heard someone had been stabbed in there.
“I have lived here since 2008 and I have never seen anything like this happen here before. It is scary and quite shocking for this to happen on my own doorstep.”
Friends of Hollie, took to Twitter to pay tribute to the tragic youngster, who is believed to have lived at the family home in Churchdown, Gloucester, with her parents.
One pal,@itsgoonerjay, posted: “Just heard about Hollie Gazzard, absolutely disgusted by some people’s mentality!!! My heart goes out to her family x.”
Another, Kayleigh Bishop, added: “Absolutely heart broken. Haven’t even slept all night! Been sitting around for someone to tell me it’s all a dream.”
Stephanie Carter, said: “RIP to a beautiful girl @holliegazzard. You were truly an amazing person! This world is too cruel .”
Twitter user Amy Morse reported a Facebook claim that Hollie had been stabbed with a pair of scissors: “On fb a comment said a guy walked into fringe benefits picked up scissors n stabbed a girl… Horrible n so early x.”
Hollie had previously worked at Zest bar in Eastgate Street, Gloucester, and the King Teddy pub in Longlevens.
Rich Payne, owner of Zest, paid tribute to the “beautiful” young stylist.
He said: “She was beautiful. She was absolutely loved by everyone who met her.
“She was an amazing person. We are all heartbroken to hear what has happened.
“She was beautiful. She always had a smile on her face with her big white teeth on show.
“She was always happy and got on with anyone.
“I just want everyone to know how amazing she was.
“She was so petite, just 5ft 1ins and tiny, it is hard to see how anyone could hurt her.
“We are all so shocked and heartbroken by what has happened.
“It must have been horrific for everyone involved.”
After leaving Chosen Hill School Hollie got an apprenticeship with The Edge Hair and Beauty and studied at the Reflection Training Academy in Bristol.
She spent nine months working at Zest before she left to be a hairdresser on a cruise ship.
But she did not enjoy it and returned home last year, landing a job at Fringe Benefits.
The salon, owned by Marina Hodgins, is open until 7.30pm on a Tuesday night.
In an autobiography written on the salon website Hollie described herself as a “passionate individual”.
She said: “I have always known this path was for me as I have always taken a passion interest in hair and fashion.
“I am a very passionate individual and take great pride in my work so can offer all my clients a unique professional and personal experience.
“I have recently worked on a cruise ship which was an enlightening experience but was not for me.
“I am now back in my home city and very excited to join Fringe Benefits and be part of their lovely team.
“I enjoy spending my free time with friends and family and going on shopping trips. I also like to keep fit and own a Pomeranian which keeps me on my toes.”
Her family were not at their #200,000 semi-detached home yesterday (Wed). Neighbours said they were with police officers at the hospital.
The boyfriend of Chloe Gazzard, Hollie’s sister, added that the family were too distraught to speak.
Acting Chief Inspector Neil Smith of Gloucestershire Police said yesterday: “Gloucester is a safe place to live, work and visit and this type of incident is rare.
“Officers are still in the area carrying out enquiries – If you were in the area and saw something we would ask you to contact police as soon as possible.
“We’re also working to put those who were in the salon at the time of the incident in contact with the relevant support agencies as we understand what they saw would have had a significant impact on them.”
In a statement released on Tuesday night, Gloucestershire Police said: “A woman has died after being stabbed in Gloucester this evening.
“Police were called to reports of a man attacking the woman at a shop in Southgate Street at approximately 5.50pm.
“The ambulance service attended the incident and transported the 20-year-old victim to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital but she sadly passed away.
“The next of kin and coroner have been informed. A murder investigation is now underway.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information is asked to call 101, quoting incident 340 of February 18.