A teacher who was killed in a village double murder days before Christmas has been described as “a rock for her family, a rock for her friends”.
Amy Appleton, 32, and 76-year-old Sandy Seagrave were killed in Hazel Way in Crawley Down, West Sussex, on 22 December.
Authorities said they had arrested a man after reports of a disturbance at a house on Hazel Way.
Officers attending found the two women dead outside the house and another man seriously injured inside.
It is believed Ms Seagrave, who lived a short walk from the scene, attempted to intervene as Ms Appleton was attacked.
The injured man, 37, remains on life support in a critical condition.
On Monday, Ms Appleton – a teacher at nearby Copthorne Church of England Junior School – was described by her family as a “beautiful, caring daughter, sister and friend”.
They said in a statement issued through Sussex Police: “We have lost a beautiful, caring daughter, sister and friend. Amy had an amazing personality. She was such a strong, positive person who always smiled.
“She was a rock for her family, a rock for her friends and most of all a rock for herself. Amy always thought of others before herself.”
On Monday, the force tweeted: “A family has paid a heartfelt tribute to Amy Appleton, one of two women murdered in #Crawley Down just before Christmas. Anyone with information which may help detectives and who has not yet come forward is urged to do so asap. Thank you.”
A family has paid a heartfelt tribute to Amy Appleton, one of two women murdered in #Crawley Down just before Christmas. Anyone with information which may help detectives and who has not yet come forward is urged to do so asap. Thank you. https://t.co/8u0KzW7gQc pic.twitter.com/M4iUfVYRKp— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) December 30, 2019
Ms Seagrave’s family described the older woman as “one of a kind, an eccentric character who was stubbornly independent, feisty, brave and not afraid of anything”.
Sussex Police have not yet released details of how the two women died as investigations continue.
After initial reports stated the women were stabbed, police have since confirmed the murder was not a knife attack and that one of the victims was known to the suspect.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact West Sussex Police.