THE former boyfriend who savagely murdered beautiful hairdresser Hollie Gazzard in the salon where she worked has been jailed for a minimum of 24 years.
22-year-old Asher Maslin had been on a three day binge of cocaine and alcohol before he bought a £3 carving knife and walked straight to the salon in Gloucester.
In a two minute frenzy, he stabbed the petite girl 14 times causing traumatic injuries. Despite CPR carried out by police called to the scene on February 18 this year, and by paramadics and staff at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, she was pronounced dead an hour later.
Hollie 20, of Churchdown, Gloucester, had ended her relationship with Maslin a few days after he had been violent towards her. He had then threatened to harm her and her family.
Gloucester Crown Court was packed with members of the public and press for the two hour hearing today (July 16) when Maslin, from Cheltenham, appeared for sentence. He had pleaded guilty to Hollie’s murder at an earlier hearing.
Passing Sentence, high court judge Mr Justice Nigel Teare said the young woman had ended the relationship on February 14 after Maslin’s violence, when he had grabbed her around the throat.
“On February 16 he sent her text messages threatening further violence and she went to the police, and contemplated taking out an injunction against him,” he said.
“On February 18, he bought a carving knife and walked to the hairdressing salon in which she worked.
“He has denied that he bought the knife to harm her but because he believed that his life was in danger. I am unable to accept that.
“The text messages and the deliberate walk to her place of work show his hostile intention.
“When he arrived at the salon, he stabbed her repeatedly to the neck, back and chest, causing severe injuries to her lungs, arteries and heart.
“The number of stab wounds to a defenceless young woman show that this was a merciless killing.
“Hollie Gazzard was 20 years old and at the start of her adult life. Her father said the world was at her feet, and now her family have lost a daughter and a sister.
“Her sister Chloe has outlined the devastating effect this has had on her family. Her death was also felt throughout Gloucester and more than 900 mourners attended her funeral at the city’s cathedral.”
Mr Justice Teare said he had seen a psychiatric report on Maslin which showed he suffered from a dependency on illicit drugs causing emotional instability, but he did not believe that drug use affected what he did.
Maslin showed no emotion during the sentencing, and occasionally looked around the courtroom and up to the public gallery.
During the hearing, Hollie’s dad Nick and sister Chloe both read their own victim impact statements.
Nick said he and his wife Mandy’s lives had been destroyed.
“Since that day, part of us has died and our lives will never be the same without her,” he went on.
“I thought I had failed my beautiful girl and wanted to know why anyone would do this to her.
“I had to identify her at the hospital two days later, and I will never recover from seeing her lifeless body lying there.”
He thanked the people of Gloucester, and said he had been overwhelmed by so many messages of support through the post and on social media after Hollie’s death.
Chloe said that Hollie was, and still is, her best friend.
“Coming to terms with her not being here is the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” she went on.
“Asher Maslin took my sister away from me because he couldn’t have her and he didn’t want anyone else to have her.
“She had everything going for her and he took all that away. I try to be strong for my mum and dad, but I struggle every day.”