St Helens man Andrew Burke admits savage murder of travel agent

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A St Helens man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a travel agent at her workplace.

Cassie Hayes, 28, died in hospital from a wound to her throat inflicted on the afternoon of January 13 at the Tui branch in Southport town centre where she was employed as assistant manager.

Cassie Hayes with her mum Tracy Hayes (centre) and sister Nadine Hayes (right). Andrew Burke, 30, has pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to the murder of Ms Hayes, 28, at her workplace

Cassie Hayes with her mum Tracy Hayes (centre) and sister Nadine Hayes (right). Andrew Burke, 30, has pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to the murder of Ms Hayes, 28, at her workplace

Andrew Burke, 31, of Vincent Street, St Helens, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to her murder and having an offensive weapon, namely a knife, in a public place.

Members of Ms Hayes’ family were in the packed courtroom.

Opening the case, Gordon Cole QC, prosecuting, said the murder was a pre-meditated and planned attack carried out in a “totally ruthless way”.

He said: “It was essentially an execution of a young woman in her place of work.”

Laura Williams (left) and Cassie Hayes. Ms Williams had previously been in a relationship with Ms Hayes' killer, Andrew Burke

Laura Williams (left) and Cassie Hayes. Ms Williams had previously been in a relationship with Ms Hayes' killer, Andrew Burke

The court heard that the defendant was the ex-partner of Laura Williams, 29, who had been in a relationship with Ms Hayes since the break-up.

Mr Cole said the split between Ms Williams and the defendant had caused problems.

Burke was charged with harassing Ms Williams on November 13 last year and was convicted of the offence on January 12 when he appeared at Sefton Magistrates’ Court and was bailed ahead of sentencing.

He was also the subject of an allegation of harassment against Ms Hayes in May 2017 and was issued with a police information notice warning him over any future contact.

Nadine Hayes (second right) the sister of murdered travel agent Cassie Hayes, is hugged as she arrives at Liverpool Crown Court

Nadine Hayes (second right) the sister of murdered travel agent Cassie Hayes, is hugged as she arrives at Liverpool Crown Court

Burke was also charged with making malicious communications in January this year when his mother, Lousie McConnell, made a statement to police about remarks he had made to her over the phone when he repeatedly threatened to kill himself or Ms Hayes because he held her responsible for the end of his relationship.

Burke pleaded guilty to that offence and received a fine and an unpaid work requirement.

Nadine Hayes (left) the sister of murdered travel agent Cassie Hayes arrives at Liverpool Crown Court

Nadine Hayes (left) the sister of murdered travel agent Cassie Hayes arrives at Liverpool Crown Court

Tracy Hayes (centre) the mother of murdered travel agent Cassie Hayes, arrives at Liverpool Crown Court with her other daughter Nadine (third right) and family and friends

Tracy Hayes (centre) the mother of murdered travel agent Cassie Hayes, arrives at Liverpool Crown Court with her other daughter Nadine (third right) and family and friends