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Sunday 31 August 2014

Gloucester hairdresser stabbing: Police criticise 'distasteful' onlookers who used mobile phones to film death of 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard

Adam Withnall

Published 20/02/2014 | 15:27

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Chief Inspector Neil Smith appealed to passers-by not to post any footage on social media

Police have hit out at the “distasteful” bystanders who reacted to the attack on Gloucester hairdresser Hollie Gazzard, and paramedics’ failed attempts to save her, by filming the incident on their mobile phones.

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Speaking yesterday after the 20-year-old had been identified and a statement from her family released, a senior police officer appealed to witnesses not to post any footage online.

A 22-year-old man, named locally as Ms Gazzard’s ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin, was reportedly being questioned by police last night after he was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Police and ambulance services were called to the Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty salon in Southgate Street, where Ms Gazzard worked, at around 5.50pm on Tuesday night. She was rushed to hospital after the stabbing, but later died.

Gloucestershire Police’s Chief Inspector Neil Smith said yesterday that officers had been monitoring social media sites for footage of the attack, though it appeared nothing had yet been posted.

“I am told there were members of the public who were videoing on their phones during the incident, especially when the officers were trying to save this lady's life,” Mr Smith said.

“I would like to put in the press very strongly that individuals who took part in any filming do not put this on social media and do not put it on the internet.”

Chief Inspector Neil Smith of Gloucestershire Police speaks to media outside Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty on Southgate Street, Gloucester (PA)

According to the Mirror, Mr Smith added: “This was hugely disrespectful and distasteful and I urge these people to give up their film to us. I am sure nobody related to the woman who died wants to see it on social media.”

Mr Smith confirmed officers had arrested a 22-year-old man at 2.30am on Wednesday morning, and that he remained in custody at Cheltenham police station.

Mr Smith said: “I would like to reassure members of this community, both residents and local businesses, that this is an isolated incident.

“These offences don't happen in Gloucester regularly. This incident was very tragic, however; both victim and suspect knew each other.

“They were in a previous relationship. That doesn't lessen this horrific incident but it would be good for us to reassure the local community.”

Ms Gazzard's family issued a statement through Gloucestershire Police saying that “the brightest star” in their lives had now gone out.

“Hollie is our daughter and was a beautiful, happy and loving girl,” the statement said.

“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.”

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the incident or had any information to call 101, quoting incident 340 of 18 February.

Independent News Service

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