September 25, 2021

Family pays tribute to ex-RAF servicewoman, who was allegedly murdered

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Family pays tribute to ex-RAF servicewoman and mother of two, 38, who was found dead in a pool of blood after she was stabbed while staying at a friend’s home as man, 37, is charged with her murder

  • Sarah Hassall, 38, died from the injuries she sustained in an incident on Sunday 
  • Brian Manship, 37, from Pontypridd, has been charged with her murder 
  • Her heartbroken family paid tribute to her following her death in South Wales

By Tom Bedford and Jemma Carr and Danyal Hussain For Mailonline

Published: 10:47 EDT, 8 October 2019 | Updated: 17:13 EDT, 8 October 2019

Sarah Hassall, 38, died from injuries sustained in an incident at Llys Graig Y Wion, Pontypridd, South Wales, on Sunday

The family of a former RAF servicewoman allegedly found murdered have paid tribute to her.

Sarah Hassall, 38, was found in a pool of blood after being stabbed to death while staying with a friend.

Police are searching nearby drains for the knife used and the area was sealed off.

Brian Manship, 37, from Pontypridd, has been charged with her murder. 

Sarah stayed with a friend in Pontypridd, South Wales, on Saturday night and was found dead shortly after 8am on Sunday morning.

She has two young sons Owain and Evan, both under 10.

Sarah was a leading member of the Army’s mountain rescue team and had climbed in Scotland and the Alps.

She had resigned from a successful military career to start a family, it was revealed yesterday.

A shocked friend said Sarah, from Chelmsford, Essex, was dedicated to her life in the services before leaving to have her two sons.

Her husband was also ex-Army and the family was living at the Wye Valley beauty spot of Symonds Yat, Monmouthshire. 

On Tuesday a tribute from Ms Hassall’s family said: ‘After growing up in the family home in Chelmsford, Sarah dedicated herself to 14 years of military service in both the RAF and the Royal Engineers.

‘Her career was dominated by her commitment to mountain search and rescue – Sarah represented her units at both rock climbing competitions and competitive running.

‘Sarah left the army in 2010 to embark on, and excel at, even greater challenges, raising two young boys, Owain and Evan. 

Her husband added: ‘Sarah was my best friend and touched many more lives along the way.

‘We all now mourn her passing, grateful for the short time we had in her company.’

Ms Hassall was found in a pool of blood after being stabbed to death in an early morning attack

Sarah stayed in touch with her military colleagues and was a member of the Guards veterans Mountaineering and Climbing Group.

She still loved to climb and spent some of last winter hiking in the French Alps.

Friend Trish Lockyer said: ‘I’m shocked, she was dedicated to her life in the Army and then showed the same dedication to bringing up her two young boys.

‘I know she had been through a tricky spot and had split from her husband. It is so tragic.’

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Oshea, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: ‘I would like to thank the local community for their support and cooperation following this shocking incident and I would like to emphasise that incidents of this nature really are extremely rare.’ 

Mr Manship will appear before Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court on October 9.

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