London - A mother was knifed to death in front of her four-year-old daughter, who ran out into the street screaming: "Help, my mum’s been stabbed."
Marie Gibson, 35, was pronounced dead at the scene moments after the child ran from the semi-detached home covered in blood, according to a neighbour.
Miss Gibson is understood to have been separated from the father of her daughter.
An acquaintance said she had been involved in a relationship with another man before her death in the market town of Louth, Lincolnshire, on Saturday afternoon.
A 27-year-old local man was last night being held on suspicion of Miss Gibson’s murder.
Beryl Gore, a retired auto industry worker who had known the victim since she was a child, said: ‘Marie was simply a lovely, lovely lady.
‘Apparently, she was stabbed to death in front of her little daughter, who is only four.’
Mrs Gore, 67, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, was best friends with Miss Gibson’s parents Margaret, 66, and William in the town. The Gibsons later moved to nearby Retford with their three children.
Mrs Gore added: ‘The family must be going through agonies right now.’
Miss Gibson moved to her home in Louth around 18 months ago.
One of her neighbours said: ‘I heard a lot of noise outside and went to see what was happening. There was a young girl in the street. She appeared to be covered in blood.
‘Police were everywhere within minutes and an air ambulance landed nearby. There was also an ambulance on the road.
‘I think they took someone from a house. This area is fairly quiet so it’s scary when you see something like that.’
Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said yesterday: ‘The girl was outside shouting, “Help! My mum’s been stabbed.”
‘It’s awful as you feel helpless. Residents aren’t being told what’s happened but there’s a lot of elderly [people] around here and seeing this level of activity frightens them.’ Another local resident added: ‘The little girl was only four. She played with my friend’s daughter.’
An air ambulance from North Hykeham, south of Lincoln, landed on a junior school playing field yards from the murder scene, but left without transferring any casualties from the housing association property. Lincolnshire Police arrested the 27-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He was being held at Skegness police station last night.
It was not clear whether the arrest was made in the vicinity of Miss Gibson’s home in Lacey Gardens, or nearby Little Lane, where officers were yesterday searching at least one property.
Witnesses had reported seeing a young man being Tasered and arrested in Little Lane on Saturday afternoon after driving the wrong way up the road, but Lincolnshire Police has not confirmed that the two scenes are linked. Both streets remained cordoned off.
Last night a police forensics tent was visible in the front garden of a property believed to be Miss Gibson’s.
The force said in a statement: "We can now confirm that a local woman in her thirties was pronounced dead at the scene at a house in Lacey Gardens, Louth. It is now being treated as murder and a 27-year-old local man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is in custody at Skegness police station."
Louth is situated on the edge of the scenic Lincolnshire Wolds and has a population of 16,000.
It was named as ‘Britain’s Favourite Market Town’ in 2012 by BBC Countryfile magazine, which said: "This wonderful, tranquil market town is made up of winding historic Georgian streets and Grade II listed buildings, and is an excellent base for exploring the wonderful homeland of one of England’s greatest nature poets, Alfred Lord Tennyson."