Man pleads guilty to murdering travel agent at work
A 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.
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."
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.
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.