Amy Appleton death: Family pay tribute to 'amazing' teacher killed in West Sussex days before Christmas

Stephanie Cockroft

The family of a teacher killed in a West Sussex village days before Christmas have paid tribute to their "amazing" daughter and sister.

Amy Appleton, 32, was found dead outside a semi-detached house in Hazel Way, Crawley Down, on Sunday, 22 December.

She died alongside Sandy Seagrove, 76, who lived a short walk from the scene and who reportedly tried to step in as Ms Appleton was attacked.

In a statement released through police, Ms Appleton, who taught at Copthorne Church of England Junior School, was described by her family as "a rock".

They said: "We have lost a beautiful, caring daughter, sister and friend. Amy had an amazing personality.

The two women were found dead outside a semi-detached house in a quiet street in Crawley Down on Sunday, 22 December. (PA Wire/PA Images)

"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."

They added: "Amy led the life she was destined to fill, following her passions. Her school will be missing an incredible, dedicated teacher, she gave 110 per cent to her pupils.

"Her light will always shine in our lives but a hole has been left with broken hearts.

"The whole family would like to send heartfelt thanks for all kind messages and thoughtful tributes. Keep shining our girl, you will forever be in our hearts."

Sandy Seagrave, 76, was also killed (Sussex Police/PA Wire)

Ms Seagrave's family last week described her as a "one of a kind character".

They said: "She was one of a kind, an eccentric character who was stubbornly independent, feisty, brave and not afraid of anything.

"She was devoted to children and especially animals, including a wild fox who we are continuing to feed now that she has gone."

Police said the 37-year-old man arrested on suspicion of their murders remains on life support after he was found seriously injured inside the property .

Sussex Police have not yet released details of how the two women died, but said it was not a knife attack and that one of the victims was known to the suspect.

Detective chief inspector Chris Friday said: "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."

Chief superintendent Jerry Westerman, West Sussex divisional commander, added: "This was an isolated, yet shocking incident that has shaken many in the community.

"We are thankful to them for supporting officers as they go about their enquiries and anyone wants to talk to them about their concerns or if they have any information they should talk with them."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.