Crime + Investigation Podcast
Listen to the brand new Crime + Investigation Podcast.
The first episode of the series explores the murder of 20-year-old hairdresser Hollie Gazzard, who was stabbed 14 times in broad daylight in front of colleagues and clients at the salon where she worked on 18 February 2014. The perpetrator was Hollie’s ex-boyfriend, 22-year-old Asher Maslin, who had subjected Hollie to domestic abuse since the previous year. Hollie tragically died two hours after the attack due to extreme blood loss.
In July 2014, Maslin was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 24 years in prison. The episode marks the year anniversary of Hollie’s murder.
Includes interviews with: Nick Gazzard (Hollie’s father), Chloe Gazzard (Hollie’s sister), Marina (salon manager) and Sian (colleague of Hollie) and Angela Middlewood – Deputy SIO, Gloucestershire Police.
Domestic violence – the systematic physical and mental abuse at the hands of someone you love – is sadly not a new phenomenon in Britain. But for 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard, that often most secret of abuses spilled out into her home town and followed her to work, leading to an attack so brutal, hardened police officers described it as ‘the worst scene’ they had ever been to.
A talented and popular hairdresser, Hollie had been involved with 22-year old Asher Maslin for just around a year, having met him in January 2013 at a local nightclub. Initially, Hollie seemed happy in the relationship, with Maslin described as ‘a genuine guy’ and ‘polite and respectful’ by Hollie’s family.
But it wasn’t long before Maslin’s controlling and violent behaviour began to surface. Starting with constant texts and phone calls to Hollie’s mobile, and escalating to drunken, abusive and threatening behaviour in the presence of her family, Maslin even followed Hollie to Watford - without her knowledge - when she moved there to pursue her hairdressing career.
Within weeks of his appearing in Watford, the abuse became physical – Maslin attacked Hollie in public at the Notting Hill Carnival in August 2013 for not answering her phone when he called. Hollie moved back to Gloucester – leaving her new job – to get away from his violent outbursts. But he once again followed her, and when Maslin was back in Gloucester, their relationship began again.
By the end of 2013, after almost 12 months of physical and emotional abuse, Hollie realised that Maslin’s controlling and violent behaviour was not going to go away, and she broke off the relationship for the last time just a few weeks before the attack.
Having physically abused her in public on several occasions by this time, threatened her family, stolen her cash cards and money from her bank account, Hollie had no choice but to report the abuse and threats to the police, even going so far as to consider a restraining order against Maslin.
On 18 February 2014, having found out about the police report Hollie had made, Maslin took a DVD player to a pawn shop. He then took the £5 he made from the sale of the DVD player to a local shop, where he purchased a knife. With the knife in his possession, he made his way to the salon where Hollie worked. It was broad daylight, and he made no attempt to cover or disguise his face.
At 5.47pm, Maslin walked into the salon and headed straight for Hollie. After punching her in her face, he proceeded to repeatedly stab her. In just over a minute, he was able to stab Hollie 14 times before walking out of the salon and heading home to change his blood-stained clothes. Hollie died from massive blood loss later that night. Maslin, however, was apprehended the next day – all of his actions had been captured on Gloucester’s extensive CCTV network, enabling the police to track him down at a friend’s house.
With so much evidence against him – in addition to the CCTV footage, the police were able to recover the knife he used, and Maslin was well known to the salon staff – he plead guilty to murder. During the hearing, the judge labelled Hollie’s death ‘a merciless killing’ and sentenced Maslin to life in prison with a minimum of 24 years to be served. According to officers, once arrested, he ‘showed no remorse throughout’ the proceedings.