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'

Claire Hayhurst,Rod Minchin
Wednesday 16 July 2014 18:43
Asher Maslin was ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years in prison (PA)
Asher Maslin was ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years in prison (PA)

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

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

"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.