Jealous ex-boyfriend Asher Maslin will spend a minimum of 24 years behind bars following the brutal murder of Gloucester hairdresser, Hollie Gazzard.
A packed Gloucester Crown Court heard how the 22-year-old of Benhall Gardens in Cheltenham, sold his DVD player in order to buy a knife, hours before he stabbed pretty Hollie to death.
Her colleagues and customers at her work place in Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty salon looked on in horror as Maslin launched the attack on February 18, this year while the Southgate Street shop was open.
The former Chosen Hill schoolgirl had been with Maslin for a year and attempted to break up with him just days before the stabbing took place.
Unable to handle rejection, Maslin, took his DVD player to Cash Converters in Northgate Street, exchanged it for £5 and bought a knife in nearby Wilkinsons.
CCTV footage captured him wandering around the city, before going into the salon at around 5.30pm.
After Maslin refused to leave when asked by Hollie, a colleague dialled 999 and a customer stepped in.
But Maslin, a former Churchdown School pupil, got out the knife and stabbed petite Hollie 14 times as she stood behind the reception desk before he ran off.
Police officers and those in the salon tried to save Hollie after the frenzied attack, but she was pronounced dead an hour later at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.
Mr Justice Teare handed down a mandatory life sentence on Maslin, stating he would have to spend a minimum of 24 years in jail, after he pleaded guilty to her murder.
Hollie’s family and supporters filled Gloucester Crown Court to hear the judgement on one of the city’s most horrific and shocking murders.
The tragedy has led her Churchdown family to set up the Hollie Gazzard Trust, which will support hairdressers of the future to train, as well as educate teenagers about domestic violence.
It is the first time the Longsmith Street court has seen a murder sentence in more than 40 years.
Acting District Crown Prosecutor Allie Longhorn said
Asher Maslin made a cold and calculated decision to kill Hollie Gazzard, a young woman who only weeks previously he had been in a relationship with. The Crown Prosecution Service worked closely with the Police to build a strong prosecution case against Maslin. Ultimately, the strength of the evidence resulted in him pleading guilty to Hollie’s murder and this at least spared many witnesses from having to re-live the horrific events in court.
Domestic violence permeates all sections of our society and it is sad to see a young life ended in such a brutal way. Thousands of women and a considerable number of men in our country remain trapped in abusive relationships and this case tragically demonstrates just how dangerous such relationships can be. It takes incredible strength to come forward and speak out against someone you love, but victims can be assured that complaints will be taken seriously and they will be supported throughout the Prosecution process. The CPS will work closely with the police and, where there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest, will always prosecute.
Nothing will compensate Hollie’s family and friends for the loss they have suffered at the hands of Asher Maslin but I hope the conclusion of this case and the custodial sentence passed will bring at least a degree of comfort.”