Aldi supermarket murder: Man to appear in court after young mother stabbed to death in front of shoppers

Martin Evans
Jodie Willsher has been named as the victim in the Skipton stabbing - Ben Lack Photography Ltd

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a young mother was stabbed to death in front of shoppers while working in her local supermarket.

Neville Hord, 44, will appear before York magistrates' court on Saturday morning charged with the murder of 30-year-old Jodie Willsher, at the store in Skipton, North Yorkshire, at around 3.27pm on Thursday.

Shoppers and staff members detained the suspect before police arrived. 

Mrs Willsher was married with a young daughter. Her immediate family were too devastated to talk, but friends paid tribute to a "bright and bubbly" person. 

A woman who was in the store and asked to remain anonymous said she had "never been so scared in my life".

Jodie Willsher was married with a young daughter Credit: Ben Lack Photography

Shopper Wilf Beattie, 68,  told how he floored the suspect with a punch and stopped him escaping by wrapping a belt and cling film round his legs.

He heard the commotion and saw Mrs Willsher lying motionless on the ground in a pool of blood.

The grandfather-of-eight said he punched the man accused of the murder in the face several times before dragging him to the floor and restraining him.

He told how he shouted to the man, who didn't say a word throughout, "you b------" before police led him away in handcuffs.

Police at the scene in Skipton

Speaking from his home in Eastburn, West Yorks, Mr Beattie, a bricklayer, said: "I heard this commotion, I looked around and these two fellas were having an argument.

"A fella had the other around the neck, I went over and saw her on the floor in a pool of blood.

"I just started laying into him, I punched him in the face a few times. We got him on the floor and restrained him.

"A member of staff came, got his head and a fella and myself got a belt around his legs before a young member of staff came with a big roll of cling film and we wrapped it around his legs.

"She was just lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

"The cops came and put the bracelets on him and got him up. The man didn't say a word, he just looked down at her."

Another witness said she heard "loads of screams" then saw the woman lying on the floor and the man pinned down as "everyone screamed and ran up and down" the supermarket.

She said: "I just saw the aftermath, I was so scared I ran off. All the staff were racing about not knowing what to do."

A forensic officer talks to colleagues at the scene of the fatal stabbing in Aldi, Skipton Credit: Ben Lack

Police vans arrived on scene within minutes, she added. 

Skipton Mayor Andy Rankine said: "Skipton is a small but close-knit community where most people know each other. We are in shock about the sad events of yesterday where a store worker was murdered whilst going about her duties. The whole town is in shock and grieving over the loss."

People left messages on a community Facebook page, saying the married victim was a mother, and that "she was such a happy, friendly person", while another described her as a "bubbly, lovely girl".

A police officer takes potential evidence away from the discount store Credit: Ben Lack 

One wrote: "Horrendous, so tragic for her family and for those who witnessed this barbaric act."

Tesco worker Alex Kay, 26, laid a floral tribute outside Aldi, and said:”Jodie also used to come into Tesco shopping, and this has really hit everybody. “It really is very close to home. Working in retail you don’t expect to lose your life.”

Another customer said she had seen the Aldi employee earlier that day wearing a Christmas jumper on shift.

One shopper who was in the store at the time of the attack said she had "never been so scared in my life".

Paramedics were also called to the store, but the woman died despite their efforts to save her.

A message of condolence outside the branch of Aldi Credit: Ben Lack 

North Yorkshire Police said the incident was not terror-related or believed to be a hate crime.

The man was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, but the force has now launched a murder inquiry.

The victim's family have been told and they are being supported by officers, police said.

A force spokesman said: "We are not in a position to identify the victim at this stage, and we urge people respect her family's privacy and to avoid speculation and rumour on social media."