Mother murdered in front of baby

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The Independent Online

Police have launched a murder hunt for the killer of a mother found stabbed in an alleyway with her four-month-old baby screaming in a pram bedside her.

Melanie Horridge, aged 25 and a mother-of-three, was found by children as she lay dying from fatal slash wounds to her neck and body.

Officers were called to the scene, in Stump Lane, at 7.30pm on Friday night. The victim was taken to Chorley and South Ribble District Hospital where she later died.

It is understood that Miss Horridge's four-month-old baby son, Oliver, was not harmed in the attack which occurred a short walk from her home in Chorley, Lancashire.

Lancashire police, who have set up an incident room, said Oliver has now been taken into the care of social services because the dead woman's parents are too shocked to look after him. Police have not released details about her other children - a three-year-old boy and a girl, aged two.

Detective Superintendent Paul Buschini said the young woman, who lived with a partner, had left her mother's home in Chorley just after 6pm to walk to a phone box although it is not clear whether she made a call before she was attacked.

"She was found at about 7.30pm by some children who were playing near to an alleyway that runs parallel with Stump Lane in Chorley," said DS Buschini.

"They heard a baby screaming and went to investigate and found Melanie on the floor by the side of the pram.

"Melanie was taken to hospital but unfortunately she died shortly after being admitted. Early indications are that Melanie put up a struggle."

A forensic team of officers, wearing protective white suits, have already carried out a search of Miss Horridge's house in Talbot Street.

The alleyway where Miss Horridge was found runs between Stafford Road and Wright Street. Police have appealed for anybody who was in the vicinity between 6.20pm and 7.30pm and who saw anything suspicious to contact Chorley Police Station.