A man has been sentenced to life in prison after admitting the murder of travel agent Cassie Hayes in Southport.
Andrew Burke, 31, of Vincent Street, St Helens will face a minimum of 26 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Earlier this morning, Burke admitted to the murder of Tui agent Cassie Hayes, 28, at the store in Chapel Street on January 13 this year.
At Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Aubrey said that on January 12, the day before the murder, he appeared in court and admitted the harassment of Laura Williams, Cassie Hayes’ partner and Burke’s former partner.
He added that Burke was also warned by police about harassing Cassie Hayes.
Pictured: Andrew Burke
The court heard that Burke told his sister that he was going to buy the “biggest knife he could find” and slit Cassie’s throat.
Judge Aubrey said: “It was not an idle threat, you were so obsessed, fixated and determined you did that which you said you would.
“In my judgement the killing was an act of unspeakable savagery. The events of January 13, 2018, and when you must have known there would be many customers in the travel agents, were captured on CCTV. The description of that footage is so brutal and harrowing, I order it must never be released to the public.”
“You had planned everything you were about to do. You had bought a knife specifically for the purpose of killing your victim. Into the shop you go, and then in front of everyone you went behind the deceased, lifted her head, and ran the knife forcefully across her throat. Your actions were deliberate and calculated in the extreme.”
“Nobody deserved to witness it, nobody ever deserved to be your victim, Inevitably those in the shop were to witness your act.
“You were fixated on a misconceived injustice that you perceived to have been visited upon you.
“You are 31-years-of age you have pleaded guilty to the murder of Cassie Hayes who was just 28 when she met her death and had her whole life ahead of her.
“You blamed her for the breakdown of your relationship…it was a continuing and persistent fixation.”
Earlier in the hearing, the court was told that customers, including two children aged 12 and nine, were in the store when the attack was carried out with a Kitchen Devils bread knife.
David McLachlan QC, representing Burke, said: “He does express his remorse at the hurt and upset he has caused everyone in this case and in accordance with the law he will have a very long time to think about what he has done, and of course he may never be released at all.”
A cry of “rot behind your door you scumbag” was heard from the public gallery as Burke was led to his cell.
Cassie’s family issued a statement outside Liverpool Crown Court, via a Merseyside Police family liaison officer, which thanked the police and “all the girls at Tui”.
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us through this unbelievably difficult time.
“Our lives have been torn apart and we will forever be broken.”
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