Hair salon killer Asher Maslin handed life sentence for stabbing ex-girlfriend Hollie Gazzard to death

20-year-old described as having 'the world at her feet'

A man who stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death at the hair salon where she worked has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years in prison.

Asher Maslin, 22, murdered Hollie Gazzard, 20, while she was working at Fringe Benefits & La Bella Beauty in Gloucester city centre at 5.47pm on February 18.

The former security guard arrived at the salon armed with a £3 carving knife he had purchased hours earlier to confront Miss Gazzard after she ended their relationship.

Staff and customers tried to protect Miss Gazzard but Maslin cornered the hairdresser by the salon's reception desk before stabbing her 14 times in front of them.

Police were already on their way to the salon, as Miss Gazzard had asked colleagues to immediately dial 999 if Maslin turned up.

Hairdresser Hollie Gazzard was stabbed 14 times at work in front of staff and customers (AP) Hairdresser Hollie Gazzard was stabbed 14 times at work in front of staff and customers (AP) Officers, who were on the scene within minutes, desperately tried to save Miss Gazzard but she was declared dead at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital at 6.51pm.

Maslin, who fled the store after attacking Miss Gazzard, discarded the Wilkinson's knife at a nearby building site and changed his clothes before taking a taxi to a friend's house.

He was arrested at the property at 2.19am the next day and later admitted a charge of murdering Miss Gazzard.

Mr Justice Teare sentenced Maslin at Gloucester Crown Court today.

Prosector Stephen Mooney told the court that in the minute and 52 seconds Maslin was in the salon he inflicted 14 stab wounds on Miss Gazzard. She also suffered more wounds as she tried to defend herself from the "brutal and sustained" attack.

The judge said: "The number of stab of wounds on a defenceless young woman show that this was a merciless killing. It was carried out in public, witnessed by customers of the salon, colleagues of Hollie Gazzard and by passers-by.

The murder scene at Fringe Benefits & La Bella Beauty in Gloucester city centre (PA) The murder scene at Fringe Benefits & La Bella Beauty in Gloucester city centre (PA) "Hollie Gazzard was 20 years of age and at the start of her adult life. As her father said 'the world was at her feet'.

"Her family has lost a daughter and a sister. Hollie's father and sister have described the devastating effect Hollie's death has had on them and on other members of the family. Her death has been felt throughout Gloucester as is shown by the circumstance that over 900 mourners attended her funeral at the cathedral."

As he was taken down, Maslin nodded to his weeping family and said: "Sorry."

Members of Miss Gazzards's family, including her parents and sister, were composed but emotional throughout the hearing.

Miss Gazzard suffered multiple wounds to her neck, chest and torso and died as a result of massive blood loss.

Maslin bought the knife from a branch of Wilkinson's in Gloucester after selling a DVD player at Cash Converters for £5 earlier that day.

Mr Mooney said Miss Gazzard met Maslin in February last year while working in a nightclub. They moved to Edgware in north London and later Watford, before returning to Gloucester in July, as she wanted to be near her family.

He said: "It was then that the defendant became violent towards her and he grabbed her around the throat after a night out."

The court heard that he also hit her in November but Miss Gazzard did not report either incident to the police.

Mr Mooney said the "last straw" in the relationship was when Maslin kicked her in January this year.

Miss Gazzard and Maslin met for a meal at Prezzo in Gloucester city centre on February 14 and she told him the relationship was over, the court heard.

"He gave her his provisonal driving licence and his mobile phone and told her he no longer needed them as he was going to kill himself," Mr Mooney said.

Maslin stole her cash card and later took £300 from her bank account using the pin number Miss Gazzard had previously given him.

Maslin texted her: "This poxy £300 means nothing to me."

He sent her other messages, including: "I am going to come into your house now. Going to smash your house up."

Another said: "It's Asher, give me a ring now or dis bat is going to hit your dad's head."

The day before Miss Gazzard died, Maslin sent her a text message, which said: "Hollie ring my phone or call. I don't want to get f****** violent as I'll take it too far."

The judge said: "On February 16 you sent her text messages threatening violence, she went to the police and contemplated obtaining an injunction to protect herself from you.

"On February 18 in the afternoon you bought a carving knife in Gloucester for £3 and walked to the hairdressing salon where she worked."

Mr Justice Teare said Maslin insisted he had bought the knife for his own protection, a claim he was "unable to accept".

"Your text messages to her and your deliberate walk to her place of work show that you had hostile intentions towards her," the judge said.

"You arrived at the salon at 5.47pm and you stabbed her repeatedly.

"She sustained 14 stab wounds to her neck, back and chest. Her lungs, arteries and heart were wounded.

"You left at 5.49pm."

The judge said Maslin had taken cocaine and crack cocaine in the two to three days before the killing.

PA

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Voices
The number of children in relative income poverty is currently 2.3 million in the UK
voices

Environment
A Brazilian wandering spider
natureIt's worth knowing for next time one appears in your bananas
Life and Style
Time and Oak have developed a product that allows drinkers to customise the flavour and improve the quality of cheaper whiskey
food + drink

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past