Gordon Cole QC prosecutes “totally ruthless” Southport murder

April 18, 2018

Gordon Cole QC from Exchange Chambers has prosecuted 31-year old Andrew Burke for a pre-meditated and planned murder carried out in a “totally ruthless way”.

Burke attacked 28-year-old Cassie Hayes from behind, cutting her throat, in front of horrified staff and shoppers in Southport town centre on 13 January. It was the day after he had been convicted of harassing his ex-partner, 29-year-old Laura Williams.

He pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to her murder and having an offensive weapon, namely a knife, in a public place. The court heard Ms Williams began a relationship with Ms Hayes after the split with Burke.

Burke had repeatedly threatened to kill himself or Ms Hayes because he held her responsible for the end of their relationship, according to his mother Louise McConnell. She alerted police to the threats he had made over the phone to her in January 2017.

Police also warned him to stay away from Ms Hayes in May last year after he was accused of harassing her. Months later, in November, he was charged with harassing Ms Williams and convicted of the offence a day before the murder.

He walked into the Chapel Street outlet and attacked Ms Hayes as she assisted a family.

“It was immediately apparent that there was blood flowing and that Cassie Hayes had had her throat cut,” said Gordon Cole QC.

He remained inside the branch and was heard saying Ms Hayes “had it coming for… what she had done to his family”.

Mr Cole said: “After this ruthless and chilling murder the defendant seemed to remain calm. He showed no emotion and remained seated whilst everybody else was reacting in one way or another to what had happened.”

Ms Hayes later died in hospital.

Gordon Cole QC is an experienced member of the criminal department at Exchange Chambers.