Published on Monday, January 15, 2018

Agents united in grief over murder of TUI assistant manager

Travel agents have come together on social media in memory of 28-year-old TUI assistant manager Cassie Hayes, who was murdered on Saturday afternoon while at work.

Members of the travel trade are sharing the hashtag #agentsunited and a fund set up to raise money for her family had already reached nearly £5,000, just 24 hours after it was launched late on Saturday night.

Andrew Burke, 30, of Vincent Street in St Helens, has been charged with murder.

He will appear at South Sefton Magistrates' Court in Bootle on Monday.

The incident happened at TUI's Chapel Street branch in Southport just before 1.30pm.

Cassie was rushed to hospital but died from a wound to her throat.

Police said they believe it was 'domestic-related'.

Paying tribute, her partner Laura Williams said Cassie was 'my future wife and my forever'.

"Words will not explain my sorrow and loss. She is the most amazing, gorgeous, selfless and strong person I know," she said.

A fundraising page has been set up on the travel industry's Facebook forum Travel Gossip.

The page says: "Cassie was the assistant manager at the TUI store and was well-known to many in travel.

"Many of us never met Cassie, but we 'know' that if we did, we would have thought she was great. We know, because we are travel.

"We understand that Cassie had a daughter and so on behalf of everyone in travel I would like to propose that we come together and contribute to a fund to help Cassie's family as they see fit.

"Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this terrible incident, including all the TUI staff. #agentsunited #wearetravel."

Agents have taken to social media to pay tribute to Cassie, with one Thomas Cook member of staff posting on Travel Gossip: "It's times like this that it doesn't matter which 'company' you work for.....We are all one in sending condolences to her family and to the team. From all of our TC team. Absolutely heartbreaking xx."

Another said: "Rivalry goes out of the window when life is lost."

Merseyside Police issued a statement on Saturday saying: "Merseyside Police can confirm a murder investigation has been launched following an incident in Southport today, Saturday January 13.

"Officers were contacted at 1.25pm following reports that a 28-year-old woman had been injured at the TUI travel agents on Chapel Street.

"The woman was taken to hospital where she subsequently died from her injuries.

"The woman's next of kin have been informed.

"It is believed the incident was domestic-related."

TUI issued a statement on Sunday saying: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm Cassie Hayes from our Southport TUI retail store tragically died in an incident yesterday, Saturday 13 January. We send our deepest sympathies to her friends and family.

"We're doing everything possible to assist the local police with their investigation and support our staff and customers at this difficult time."

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting log 470 of January 13.

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