THE second victim of the village Christmas double murder has been named by friends and neighbours as primary school teacher Amy Appleton.
Amy, 32, worked as a Year 5 teacher at Copthorne Church of England Junior School, close to where she lived in Crawley Down in West Sussex.
Amy was killed along with pensioner Sandy Seagrave outside a £370,000 semi-detached home in the village in Sunday’s horrific incident.
One resident today said: “We are all heartbroken about what happened to Amy. She was such a lovely woman and a brilliant teacher.”
‘Good Samaritan’ Sandy, 76, was beaten to death with her walking stick as she tried to save Amy who was allegedly being attacked by her former partner.
The attacker, 37, was believed to have slashed his throat. He was taken to hospital where he remained in a “very unstable” condition last night.
He was arrested on suspicion of murder.
A horrified neighbour told the Sun Online: “The elderly woman was walking past and he killed her with her walking stick.
“She was just walking past at the time and saw what was happening and tried to intervene.”
Young children inside the property were escorted out by police with their view of the bodies blocked by officers holding up a towel.
Another villager: “There was shouting and swearing. He said, ‘I’m going to kill you’.
“It was a domestic dispute or argument that was going on.”
Police said the suspect was only known to one of the victims.
Paying tribute to Sandy, one neighbour said she had been using the walking stick for around six months after a fall.
She added: “We heard she tried to help somebody being attacked.
“Her (second) husband died about five years ago from cancer. She’s lived in the village for around 30 years.
“We are all shocked. It’s terrible.”
Her brother, Dan Peckett, 84, said outside her house yesterday: “I’m going to miss her so much. I adored her. I kept in touch with her all the time on the phone.
“It’s a big shock at the moment. I found out what happened on the telly. I haven’t been told anything yet. The police have told me to go home and they’ll speak to me later.”
The two women suffered major head injuries, while the suspect was believed to have slashed his own throat and neck, a source said.
A fleet of ambulances, a helicopter and teams of police raced to the scene.
White sheets covered both bodies which lay in the road where they fell.
The suspect was taken by ambulance to hospital in Brighton.
Detective Chief Inspector Alex Geldart, of Surrey and Sussex major crime team, is leading the investigation.
She said: “This is a tragic incident which has led to the death of two local women, one of whom was known to the suspect.
“Members of the public, police and paramedics did all they could to help the victims but sadly the two women died at the scene.
“I extend my heartfelt sympathies to their families, who are being supported by specialist trained officers. I ask that people respect their privacy at this distressing time.
“Extensive enquiries are taking place.