Gloucestershire

Hollie Gazzard family: Murderer 'controlling and manipulative'

Hollie Gazzard Image copyright Gazzard Family

On a Tuesday evening in February, the rejected ex-boyfriend of a 20-year-old hairdresser walked into the salon where she was nearing the end of her shift and repeatedly stabbed her.

Asher Maslin, 22, admitted murdering Hollie Gazzard in the Gloucester hairdresser and has now been jailed for life.

Police described it as a "spiteful and cowardly attack", carried out by a "self-obsessed individual who couldn't handle rejection".

As for the family, their daughter had become caught up in a relationship that had brought them little comfort from the outset.

'End the relationship'

"He was quite controlling, quite manipulative, and that got worse as the relationship went on," said Hollie's father Nick Gazzard.

Image caption Maslin has been jailed for life

"There were a few instances when he disrespected us as a family, and disrespected Hollie, and we had to tell him that we really didn't want him round our house anymore because of that.

"That was the latter part of last year and I think that was the time Hollie made the decision she wanted to end the relationship. But he found that very difficult to take."

The couple got together in February 2013 while working in a nightclub and lived in Edgware, north London, and later Watford. They then returned to Gloucester in July last year as Hollie wanted to be near her family.

Gloucester Crown Court heard how the relationship had become increasingly violent and Hollie ended the relationship in January.

Chloe Gazzard said her sister's unhappiness had been noticeable and caused a change in her demeanour towards the rest of the family.

Hollie would keep some things to herself, according to her sister, to avoid worrying others or being a burden. But eventually she confided in the family the relationship had to end.

"She wanted to do it as amicably as possible because that's the way she was, she wasn't a nasty person or harsh, and she tried to do that and he wouldn't accept that," said Chloe.

Image copyright Gazzard family
Image caption Nick Gazzard (left) said the family was left "absolutely devastated" after Hollie's murder

She was murdered at Fringe Benefits and La Bella Beauty salon in Gloucester city centre on 18 February.

Being told that news, and then having to tell the rest of the family, was "the hardest thing in my life", Mr Gazzard said.

"Since that day there has not been one day go by that we have not thought about Hollie and what she meant to us as a family, and we've really got to live day-by-day.

"It has been so difficult. But we've had immense support from the community in Gloucester which has got us through."

Chloe said she remained "numb to everything", but hoped the family could properly grieve for her sister now the sentencing was no longer hanging over them.

"I just miss her so much," she says.

"She didn't deserve that. She should still be here with us now. We want to keep her spirit alive as much as we can, because she is incredibly missed by everyone.

She described Hollie as vibrant, lively, caring, loyal, trusting and "just lovely to be around".

"She was my best friend," she adds.

"If you met Hollie, or even saw her, you'd remember her. She was very fun, smiley and made an impact on everyone - even people that didn't know her."

Image copyright Gazzard Family
Image caption Chloe Gazzard (left) described Hollie as her best friend

It is the polar opposite for her murderer, with the family saying Maslin "is not worth thinking about" as they fully focus on Hollie, her life and her legacy.

"It has been so difficult, but we've had immense support from the community in Gloucester that has got us through," added Mr Gazzard.

"And whilst we are absolutely devastated with what has happened to Hollie - and we can't change that - but what we can do is hopefully prevent that happening to someone else."

Her family have now set up a charitable trust in her name which will work to help prevent domestic violence and also sponsor the training of young hairdressers.

One of the services it is supporting is Gloucestershire Domestic Abuse Support Service, with an aim of training counsellors to go into schools to challenge 14 to 19-year-olds about identifying domestic violence or abuse.

Mr Gazzard said: "We can't change the past but we can certainly change the future going forward."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHollie Gazzard's sister talks about losing her sister

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites