First picture of woman killed 'after throat was slit' in horrific attack inside TUI travel agents in front of terrified shoppers

First picture of woman killed 'after throat was slit' in horrific attack inside TUI travel agents in front of terrified shoppers

This is the first picture of a 28-year-old woman killed in a horrific knife attack inside a busy travel agents in front of terrified shoppers.

The victim, named locally tonight as Cassie Hayes – who is reported to have had her ‘throat slit by an assailant’ – later died in hospital following the lunchtime attack at a branch of TUI in Southport, Merseyside.

Her employers later confirmed that the woman who was killed was a member of staff – and detectives have opened a murder probe after arresting a 30-year-old man at the scene.

Cassie’s heartbroken partner, Leah Mcdonald, said on Facebook late this afternoon: “My absolute world i love you so so much have done since we first met i promise i will look after our girl the best i can.”

Cassie Hayes died as a result of her injuries following the attack in Southport

Other tributes are tonight flooding social media.

Friend Helen Harper posted on Facebook that she was “shocked and heartbroken” – while another user, Tanya Gaffney, described Cassie as “such a lovely lady”.

And Rebecca Spencer posted: “So sorry to hear this news, such a lovely person and will be sadly missed xx.”

Police, who described Cassie’s death as a ‘domestic-related’ incident, said an unnamed 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Witnesses reported seeing a woman being brought out on a stretcher and put in an ambulance.

Cassie Hayes died following the attack inside a TUI travel agent in Southport

Delivery driver Rich Lawson, 27, said: “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. I overheard a lady wearing a TUI uniform on the phone. She was shaking and said her throat was slit.

“When I went back to my van and drove past the police riot van was up against the door. It looked like they were bringing a man out.”

Teams of police and two air ambulances descended on the scene immediately after the incident – and onlookers said they initially saw armed officers flood the busy town centre parade.

Holiday giant TUI has confirmed in a statement that a female staff member died as a result of the attack at its premises shortly before 1.30pm.

Video Loading

Eyewitnesses say they saw a woman being carried out covered in blood

A cordon was erected around the travel agent, while witnesses said two air ambulances landed at nearby Marine Lake.

Merseyside Police said a man had been detained at the scene and that the incident “remains ongoing”, the Liverpool Echo reports.

A 28-year-old woman died as a result of her injuries

A statement from 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 attack happened shortly before 1.30pm today

“The woman was taken to hospital where she subsequently died from her injuries.

“The woman’s next of kin have been informed.

“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.”

One eyewitness said: “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.”

An air ambulance in the aftermath of the horror attack in Southport

Witnesses said armed police were dispatched to the scene following the attack

She added: ”I don’t think it was a shooting. I was further down Chapel Street and didn’t hear any gunshot.”

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.

Rich 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 think the incident was in TUI two doors down.

“I saw them bring a girl out on a stretcher and putting her into an ambulance.

Police have opened a murder investigation following the attack

Forensics officers on the scene of the attack which left a 28-year-old woman dead

“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 would say she was in her mid 20s. A couple of people have said she was being held hostage.

“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.”

Taking to Twitter, Luke Chandley described how there are about 10 police vehicles at the scene, as well as an ambulance.

He wrote: “Mad stuff going down in Southport. About 10 police vehicles, one van backed in to Thompson’s. An ambulance too. What a mad day.”

Video footage shows huge crowds gathering around the cordon, set up on one of the busiest shopping streets in the town centre.

A spokesman for the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust confirmed to Mirror Online that a woman had been taken to hospital.

Armed police rushed to the scene in Southport following the attack

TUI has confirmed that a member of its staff was attacked

He said: “We got a call at 1.27pm to Chapel Street and we have sent numerous resources, including two air ambulances, a land ambulance and a couple of our advance paramedics.

“One patient was taken to Southport Hospital.”

A statement from TUI said: “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.”