A 44-year-old man has appeared in court charged with murder after a ‘doting mother and a loving wife’ was stabbed to death at the supermarket where she worked.
Customers pinned down a man after 30-year-old Jodie Willsher was attacked at an Aldi in Skipton, North Yorkshire, on Thursday.
Neville Hord appeared at York Magistrates’ Court on Saturday where he was remanded in custody in a hearing lasting three minutes.
It has emerged that the suspect held by police following the tragedy was once in a relationship with the victim’s 49-year-old mother Nikki Dinsdale.
Officers initially arrested Hord on suspicion of attempted murder but following Jodie’s death the investigation was upgraded to a murder inquiry.
Neville Hord, pictured left, appeared at York Magistrates’ Court on Saturday where he was remanded in custody in a hearing lasting three minutes. He is charged with the murder of Jodie Willsher, pictured right
Hord, pictured, was handcuffed as he was led up stairs into the dock in the centre of the large courtroom, but these were taken off as the hearing got under way. There were no family members in court.
Hord, of Great Horton Road, Bradford, stood in the dock flanked by two security officers.
Wearing a blue quilted t-shirt and grey shorts, he spoke only to give his name and confirm his date-of-birth and address.
He was handcuffed as he was led up stairs into the dock in the centre of the large courtroom, but these were taken off as the hearing got under way. There were no family members in court.
Balding Hord was told he will appear again at Leeds Crown Court on December 28.
Mrs Willsher’s husband Malcolm described his wife as ‘lovely and warm’, and always having a smile on her face.
Tragic: Aldi worker and mother-of-one Jodie Willsher pictured with her husband Malcolm and their daughter just over two weeks ago
It has emerged that the suspect held by police following the tragedy was once in a relationship with the victim’s 49-year-old mother Nikki, pictured right
‘She was amazing, beautiful and a lovely person. She was a doting mother and a loving wife,’ he said in a statement.
North Yorkshire Police said Mrs Willsher suffered multiple serious injuries and died at the store on Keighley Road at about 3.30pm.
Colin Breslin, regional managing director at Aldi, said Mrs Willsher was a ‘much loved and popular colleague’, and that they were all deeply shocked and saddened by her death.
The town council’s mayor Andy Rankine said those who live in Skipton were ‘in shock and grieving’ over the loss of Mrs Willsher.
Jodie was said to be extremely close to her mother Nikki, who has been ‘utterly destroyed’ by her death. She was too upset to talk today
Floral tributes to her have been left at the edge of the police cordon around the store, which is closed until further notice.
Meanwhile, officers investigating the death have appealed for a man in his sixties or possibly older to come forward.
Described as wearing a flat cap and a lighter and darker two-tone walking-type jacket, the force said he was the first person to try to intervene and was involved in a sustained struggle.
Officers said it is believed he was shopping with a lady with short, light brown hair who was wearing a light-coloured, possibly grey, jacket – and that they both appear to have left the store before emergency services arrived.
Her husband Malcolm (pictured with Jodie) has since described the 30-year-old as ‘lovely and warm’, and always having a smile on her face
Earlier, a family friend told The Sun: ‘It was her mum’s ex who has been arrested. It is just awful for the entire family.
‘And just days before Christmas – they’ll never recover from this.’
Nikki was said to be extremely close to her beloved daughter and has been ‘utterly destroyed’ by her death. She was too upset to talk today.
Tributes have poured in for the mother-of-one, who is married to 36-year-old Malcolm and has a young daughter who started primary school earlier this year.
They were today being comforted by family and police liaison officers as forensics worked behind a cordon at the closed Aldi store. It will remain closed ‘for the foreseeable future’.
Her husband Malcolm has since described the 30-year-old as ‘lovely and warm’, and always having a smile on her face.
‘She was amazing, beautiful and a lovely person. She was a doting mother and a loving wife,’ he added.
Nikki, pictured left with Mrs Willsher, was said to be extremely close to her beloved daughter and has been ‘utterly destroyed’ by her death. She was too upset to talk today
Tributes today poured in for Jodie Willsher, 30, pictured left, who was stabbed in an Aldi supermarket yesterday. Grandfather-of-eight Wilfred Beattie, pictured right, told how he pinned the ‘knifeman’ to the ground
Following the horror stabbing, Jodie was taken to hospital by ambulance but later died of her injuries. Forensic officers examined the scene for clues and are believed to have recovered a weapon.
Shoppers were told to abandon their trolleys and flee in the horrifying moments after the stabbing with police seen guarding the supermarket overnight.
One man, whose mother and father were in the store at the time, said: ‘My parents were doing their shopping when it happened and my dad restrained the b*****d who stabbed the member of staff until the police arrived.
Bricklayer Wilfred Beattie, 68, was shopping with his wife Susan when he witnessed the brutal attack on 30-year-old Jodie Wilsher.
He described how he sprang into action as the mother-of-one lay dying in a pool of blood wearing a Christmas jumper.
Other shoppers fled in horror as Wilfred and another onlooker kept the ‘knifeman’ pinned down until police arrived the scene in Skipton, North Yorkshire.
He shouted ‘you b******’ as the man – who remained silent throughout his arrest – was led away in handcuffs.
Wilfred said: ‘I rushed up and I saw that lass on the floor in a pool of blood. My first instinct was to lay in to him.
‘We got him on the floor and wrapped a belt around his neck and one round his legs.
Jodie is pictured with her husband Mal and daughter. He changed his Facebook profile photograph in honour of his wife
‘Then a member of staff came with a big roll of clingfilm and wrapped it round his legs so he couldn’t move.’
Following the stabbing, Jodie was taken to hospital by ambulance but died of her injuries.
Mr Beattie said he had been laughing and joking with Jodie just minutes before he tackled a man to the ground.
The grandfather-of-eight said: ‘I walked down and next thing I heard was all this commotion.
‘I rushed up and I saw that lass on the floor in a pool of blood. My first instinct was to lay in to him.
‘We got him on the floor and wrapped a belt around his neck and one round his legs.
‘Then a member of staff came with a big roll of clingfilm and wrapped it round his legs so he couldn’t move.
‘The police then came, put the bracelets on him and took him away. He never said a word. He got to his feet and just looked at her.’
Jodie’s colleagues and other shoppers then gave her first aid as they waited for police and the ambulance service to arrive.
Mr Beattie added: ‘I never saw him come in. I had no idea who he was and had never seen him before.
‘I will never get my head round why he did it because it happened right at the far end of the store.
‘I said to him, ‘you b*****d’. Why he targeted her I shall never know.
‘The policeman read him his rights and got him to his feet and marched him out.
‘I walked away to get my trolley and they said everybody will have to get out of the premises but I managed to get to the cash till and get my things paid for.
Husband Malcolm, pictured right, was last night comforting their daughter Megan
‘I don’t know whether it was a member of staff but someone came with the first aid boxes.
‘When I stopped [because of the commotion] I was probably about 10 yards away.’
Wilfred said he does his weekly shop at Aldi and regularly spoke to victim Jodie Willsher who he described as ‘lovely lass who is always bubbly’.
He added: ‘We go in there every week, she has served us and she is a nice, polite, bubbly lass.’
Wilfred’s wife, Susan Beattie, 70, was at the other side of the store when the incident happened.
She said: ‘I was at the bottom end of the store at the opposite side.
Jodie’s friend Richard Gardner, left, posted this picture and wrote: ‘Words cannot even describe how devastated we all are’
‘People were screaming and shouting. They were running out of the store. My husband was trying to hold his legs down so that he couldn’t escape.’
Today tributes poured in for mother-of-one Jodie as her husband and young daughter were comforted by police.
And it emerged that she posted a touching final Snapchat video taken while cuddling her young daughter.
Forensics were seen working behind a cordon at the closed Aldi store which will remain shut ‘for the foreseeable future’.
One customer said she had seen Mrs Willsher earlier that day wearing a Christmas jumper at work.
Her devastated husband this morning changed his profile picture on Facebook to a touching image of Jodie ice skating with Megan.
Family friends have left tributes to Jodie on Facebook, with Mike Wilson-Barrett saying she was a ‘fantastic person and mother’
It was flooded with tributes from friends who spoke of their shock at the young woman’s death.
Her cousin Chris Swales described her as the ‘sister he never had’, adding: ‘We lost a beautiful, fun loving and caring person. How can life be so cruel?
‘A [selfish] act by one person has left a husband without a wife and a little girl without her mother.
‘You weren’t just my cousin Jodie, you were like the sister I never had and now I’m broken you’ve gone. Be the brightest star in the sky and sleep tight.’
A shocked school friend of Jodie added: ‘Everybody is shocked. There are 20,000 people here and 5,000 people would have known her, it is a smaller town and there will be so many people she knew from school and working.
‘There will be so many people affected by it. II don’t know how long she has worked here. She was such a lovely person.
Jodie, pictured, was taken to hospital by ambulance but later died of her injuries
‘She would never do no harm to anyone. Some of her friends have told me she put a Snapchat video up of her in bed cuddling with her daughter yesterday morning.
‘She had to come to work and not go home.’
Another friend added: ‘How is her little girl’s Dad going to tell her on Christmas Day?’
The town council’s mayor Andy Rankine said: ‘Skipton is a small but close-knit community where most people know each other. We are in shock about the sad events of yesterday where a store worker was murdered whilst going about her duties.
‘The whole town is in shock and grieving over the loss of Jodie. Christmas this year will an ordeal for many residents.’
A woman stabbed by a knifeman in front of horrified Christmas shoppers at an Aldi supermarket has died. Police are pictured carrying away what appears to be a knife from the scene
A close family friend said: ‘All the family is distraught. No one can understand why this has happened. Jodie was such a loving person. She would never hurt anyone. It’s such a terrible waste.’
Jodie had worked at Tesco in Skipton before she was employed by Aldi.
Tesco worker Alex Kay, 26, laid a floral tribute outside Aldi, and said: ‘Jodie also used to come into Tesco shopping, and this has really hit everybody.
‘It really is very close to home. Working in retail you don’t expect to lose your life.’
Her husband Malcolm is a keen rugby union player and boxer.
A close friend of Jodie, pictured, said: ‘All the family is distraught. No one can understand why this has happened. Jodie was such a loving person. She would never hurt anyone. It’s such a terrible waste’
One of his friends, Sam Walbank, wrote on his Facebook page: ‘I remember the days when we were at work together on the same floor and on the same row of desks and this lovely lady came into your life.
‘She became the light of your life and was a privilege to see you so happy and marry this wonderful lady and start a wonderful family together.
‘I have no other words i can give or say to start to understand why. All I can say is my thoughts are with you and your daughter and the rest of your family. Sending lots of love to you all.’
Friends spoke of their memories of Jodie and shock at her death. John Firth said: ‘It just shows how many people’s lives you touched Jodie.
Her devastated husband this morning changed his profile picture on Facebook to a touching image of Jodie ice skating with Megan
‘The words and pictures people are sharing are showing the kind of person you are.
‘Fun-loving, kind, caring and, most of all, devoting. You sleep tight now little lady.
‘I will still put a profiterole on the garden wall for you to come and get every now and then. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mal, Megan, family and friends.’
Another wrote: ‘Horrendous, so tragic for her family and for those who witnessed this barbaric act.’
Phil Dowgill said: ‘I’m so sorry to hear this! Jodie was always smiley and seemed a lovely young lady on our visits there. My thoughts are with all of your family xx.’
Matthew Barnes, chief executive of Aldi UK and Ireland, said: ‘Everyone at Aldi is heartbroken by this devastating news. Our deepest sympathy goes to Jodie’s family, friends and colleagues.
‘We are doing everything we can to support our people and all those affected during this difficult time.’
Floral tributes to Mrs Willsher have been left at the edge of the police cordon around the store, which is closed until further notice while police continue their investigation.
Police officers stand guard outside the Aldi in Skipton, North Yorks, where a woman was attacked with a knife
One message read: ‘To our dear beautiful sweet friend. We are broken. Sorry we never got our girls night, here’s a glass to you.’
Another sympathy card said: ‘Jodie, no words can explain how much you are going to be missed. You were truly 1 in a million. xxx L.’
One of the cards read: ‘Your life was a blessing. Your memory a treasure. Loved beyond words. Missed beyond measure. Rachel xxx.’
Another added: ‘To my beautiful, kind prosecco drinking, cat-obsessed friend. There are no words to fully justify the way this has shaken your friends and family.
Forensic personnel investigate the scene after a woman was killed after an attack this afternoon
‘We love you more than you will know and will see you again someday. All our love sweetheart, Caroline, James and Mila. (and Buster and Martina).
One man, who did not want to be named, lay down flowers describing the victim as an ‘absolutely lovely person’.
He said: ‘I went to school with Jodie, primary school and high school.
‘She was a well-liked person, I don’t know anyone who had a grudge against her, she seemed, lovely, such a nice person.
‘There’s probably 20,000 people in Skipton and around 5,000 will know her, through school and working at the shop, it’s that kind of small town.
‘There’s so many people she knew, so many people affected by it. It’s shocking, an absolutely lovely person, never do any harm to nobody.
‘She idolised her daughter. She put a snap on Facebook yesterday of her with her daughter cuddling in bed before she went to work. Nobody should ever go to work and not come home.’
The tragedy happened at the store in Skipton, North Yorkshire, on Thursday at 3.27pm.
Trolleys packed with Christmas shopping were left stranded as customers were evacuated from the store
One witness said she heard ‘loads of screams’ then saw the woman lying on the floor and the man pinned down as ‘everyone screamed and ran up and down’ the supermarket.
She said: ‘I just saw the aftermath, I was so scared I ran off.’
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘The suspect was initially detained by brave members of staff and public, before he was arrested by officers who were quickly on scene.
‘He was taken into custody on suspicion of attempted murder, but it has now turned into a murder investigation despite the efforts of medics to save the victim.
‘The woman’s family are being supported by police officers while enquiries continue.’
An Aldi spokesman said that the branch will be closed ‘for the foreseeable future’.
He told MailOnline: ‘We’re working with the police following an incident at our Skipton store.’
North Yorkshire Police had previously said the incident was not terror-related or believed to be a hate crime.
Witnesses or anyone with information are urged to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1, and speak to the Force Control Room.
Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 and quote reference number NYP-21122017-0274 when providing details about this incident.
People affected by the traumatic scene can seek support from the Major Incident Response Team by calling 07974 745194.
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