Killer destroyed our lives too, says Melsonby post office victim Diana Garbutt's mother

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The mother of a post office owner who was murdered above her quiet village store said today that the killer had destroyed her life as well.

Agnes Gaylor was speaking about the murder of her daughter, Diana Garbutt, 40, who was found dead in the upstairs living quarters of the post office in Melsonby, North Yorkshire, on Tuesday morning.

Mrs Garbutt's husband, Robin, 44, said he discovered his wife's body after an armed raider confronted him in the store and made off with a substantial amount of cash.

Mrs Gaylor, 60, today made an emotional appeal at a hotel in York to find her daughter's killer.

She said the last few years in Melsonby had been the happiest of her daughter's life.

"She was content, she loved her life. She didn't deserve to be taken like this. Nobody does. But she. of all people, did not deserve to be taken this way," she said.

Mrs Gaylor added: "The person who has taken my Diana's life has also destroyed my life, her husband Robin's life and the lives of so many other people who adored Diana."

Mrs Gaylor, who was supported by her partner, Michael Hodgson, said: "I'm here today to appeal to anyone watching, reading or listening, if you have any information which may help the police catch the person who brutally murdered my wonderful daughter Diana, to please come forward with that information.

"Someone knows the person who did this. Someone you know may have Diana's blood on their clothes, may be behaving oddly or spending more money than usual."

She continued: "Catching them won't bring my daughter back but, if you know anything which can catch or could catch and stop the killer from hurting anyone else, please speak out now and contact the police."

Mr Garbutt told police he opened his shop at 4.30am on Tuesday and was confronted by the masked raider, who was carrying a gun, just after he opened up the post office part of the business at 8.30am.

He said the raider entered the shop just after 8.30am and said "We've got your wife" before demanding cash from the safe.

The robber then left with a substantial amount of cash in a holdall and Mr Garbutt went upstairs, where he found his wife, who had died from severe head injuries. Police said she had not been shot.

The ambulance service called police to the post office at 8.38am, which would have been a busy time in the village.

People living and working around the post office said they did not notice anything unusual until an ambulance and then armed police arrived on Tuesday morning.

A school bus normally arrives in the village centre at about 8.30am.

Bill Nixon, who runs a garage opposite the post office, said there were around 40 children in the area of the shop at the time.

Residents said the Garbutts, who have no children, moved to the village from the York area about seven years ago and had been married for about the same time.

Mrs Garbutt is thought to have had a military background.

The store was targeted by armed robbers in March last year, when two men, one armed with what appeared to be a handgun, threatened staff and made off with stamps and a large amount of cash.

People in the village said the couple considered leaving the village after the raid and put the business up for sale but, it appears, they recently decided to stay.

Detectives said there were similarities with the earlier crime which were being investigated.

Police are looking for a suspect who is 5ft 11in to 6ft, and was wearing a black, tight-fitting mask, a dark blue, long-sleeved T-shirt and dark blue-black coloured jeans.

They said they could not rule out there being more than one raider.