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Tributes to travel agent ‘gem’ whose ‘throat was slit’

A travel agent whose ‘throat was slit’ yesterday was described as a ‘lovely person’ by mourners including her ex-partner, who called the 28-year-old a ‘gem’.

Cassie Hayes was seen covered in blood yesterday as she was carried out of the Southport TUI branch where she worked after what police believe was a ‘domestic incident’. 

A 30-year-old man from St Helens has been arrested on suspicion of murder following the horrific incident that took place around 1.30pm.

Today tributes were paid to Ms Hayes, who died in hospital, with ex-partner Leah McDonald describing her heartbreak on social media as people laid flowers at the TUI shop.

People were seen handing police officers flowers at the scene where Cassie Hayes was fatally wounded yesterday 

Ms Hayes is understood to have worked at the TUI branch on Chapel Street, Southport, and was seen being carried out of the premises covered in blood yesterday

Ms Hayes is understood to have worked at the TUI branch on Chapel Street, Southport, and was seen being carried out of the premises covered in blood yesterday

Cassie Hayes, 28, was allegedly murdered in front of horrified shoppers with witnesses claiming her throat was slit

Cassie Hayes, 28, was allegedly murdered in front of horrified shoppers with witnesses claiming her throat was slit

Officers remain at the scene today and were seen laying flowers on behalf of mourners outside the TUI branch

Officers remain at the scene today and were seen laying flowers on behalf of mourners outside the TUI branch

It is understood the pair had a daughter, Ruby, during their 11-year on off relationship.

Ms McDonald wrote: ‘What can I say this girl was and has been my absolute world from the first moment we met on the 4th July 2007 till this very day.

‘We had are fall outs are ups and downs but i can tell you now despite all that we absolutely loved each other and out of all the people in the world i could not of picked a better mammy for our child.

Police and forensic officers remain at the scene in Southport where horrified shoppers witnessed the travel agent being carried out covered in blood

Police and forensic officers remain at the scene in Southport where horrified shoppers witnessed the travel agent being carried out covered in blood

Forensic officers were tonight pictured inside the Southport travel agents where a worker was allegedly murdered

Forensic officers were tonight pictured inside the Southport travel agents where a worker was allegedly murdered

‘She’s just a gem, my best mate. Even when we split she was there for me like me for her.

’11 whole years this girl has been my rock and the most amazing mammy to our Ruby i am heart broken and numb how anyone could do this to my Cassie.’

A colleague of Ms Hayes wrote on Facebook: ‘Such sad news about Cassie, worked with her a few times when I was working for Tui and she was such a lovely person. 

‘Thoughts are with all my friends at Tui, Tui Southport and her family and friends. RIP Cassie xxx’

Witnesses claimed the victim, a 28-year-old woman, had her throat slit and a 30-year-old man from Southport has been arrested on suspicion of murder

Witnesses claimed the victim, a 28-year-old woman, had her throat slit and a 30-year-old man from Southport has been arrested on suspicion of murder

Michael Richards, who worked as Ms Hayes’s manager at TUI, said she was an ‘amazing’ woman who made him enjoy going to work every day. 

Another said: ‘So shocked to here the sad news about Cassie. I’ve not worked for Tui for a while but the time I did and worked with Cassie she was such a lovely girl. RIP Cassie. Thinking of all the Southport girls and Cassie’s family.’ 

Fellow travel agents have set up a Go Fund Me page to raise cash for the victim’s grieving family and are using the hasghtag #AgentsUnited in her memory. 

Ms Hayes was stretchered out of the shop yesterday, with one eyewitness told Mirror Online: ‘I was walking past when they were rushing to get the woman into the ambulance.

‘There was a lady from the travel agent shaking outside the shop, and lots of police around who had just arrived.’  

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.

Mr Lawson 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 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 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.’ 

Travel Gossip, the online community which set up the Go Fund Me page, said in their appeal: ‘Everyone who works in travel has been deeply upset about what has happened to a fellow travel colleague, Cassie Hayes, in Southport on Saturday 13th January.

‘Cassie was the assistant manager at the TUI store and was well-known to many in travel.

‘Many of us never met Cassie but we *know* that if we did, we would have thought she was great. We know, because we are travel.

‘We understand that Cassie had a daughter, and so on behalf of everyone in travel I would like to propose that we come together and contribute to fund to help Cassie’s family as they see fit.

‘Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this terrible incident, including all the TUI staff. #agentsunited’  

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.

Police remain at the scene in Southport after a woman's throat was reportedly slit at the travel agents 

Police remain at the scene in Southport after a woman’s throat was reportedly slit at the travel agents 

A cordon has been erected at the scene of a major incident, where a man was detained and a woman's throat was reportedly slit 

A cordon has been erected at the scene of a major incident, where a man was detained and a woman’s throat was reportedly slit 

Ten police vehicles were deployed to the major incident at a travel agent in Merseyside

Ten police vehicles were deployed to the major incident at a travel agent in Merseyside

Two air ambulances were seen landing nearby but the woman died after being taken to hospital 

Two air ambulances were seen landing nearby but the woman died after being taken to hospital 

‘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 Tui spokeswoman said yesterday: ‘We regret to confirm that a female member of staff at our Southport Tui retail store tragically died in an incident today.

‘We send our deepest sympathies to the friends and family of the staff member involved.

‘We’re doing everything possible to assist the local police with their investigation and support our customers and staff at this difficult time.’

A large police cordon remains in place at the travel agents and three surrounding businesses after two air ambulances landed by Southport’s Marine Lake.

Witness Luke Chandley said on Twitter: ‘Mad stuff going down in Southport. About 10 police vehicles, one van backed in to Thompson’s. An ambulance too. What a mad day.

Huge crowds can be seen gathering around the cordon, which police have set up on one of the busiest shopping streets in the town centre.

A spokeswoman from North West Ambulance Service confirmed they were called to Chapel Street at 1.27pm.

She said: ‘We got quite a lot of different resources there, we’ve got air ambulances and ambulances and a couple of our advanced paramedics.’

The victim was taken to Southport Hospital.

A male was detained at the scene, where 10 police vehicles were reportedly sent to deal with the attack

A male was detained at the scene, where 10 police vehicles were reportedly sent to deal with the attack

The area has been sealed off as police continue to deal with the incident as it unfolds in Merseyside 

The area has been sealed off as police continue to deal with the incident as it unfolds in Merseyside 

The air ambulance landed in a park near Chapel Street as police reported a male had been detained and a woman sent to hospital

The air ambulance landed in a park near Chapel Street as police reported a male had been detained and a woman sent to hospital

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