The owner of a florists where a young mum worked before she was killed by her partner has paid tribute to his hard-working employee.
Nicholas Bamling employed 23-year-old Melissa Liddle last year to work in his shop N Bamlings and Son in Felling.
She had been with us for less than a year but her kindness and warmth made her a popular member of the team. She is such a huge miss to everyone here.Nicholas Bamling
The 23-year-old quickly became popular with her colleagues, who have all been left distraught by her death.
The mum-of-two was stabbed to death by her partner Anthony Ross on Mother’s Day in the home they shared in Oak Avenue, South Shields.
Ross, who stabbed his childhood sweetheart with a knife 41 times, is due to be sentenced later this month after earlier pleading guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
Paying tribute to the young mum, Mr Bamling said: “Melissa was well respected and loved by everyone here. She was always so happy and loved working with flowers.
“She was full of life, always smiling, she was just a really happy person.
“She had been with us for less than a year, but her kindness and warmth made her a popular member of the team.
“She is such a huge miss to everyone here.”
Melissa, a former member of St John’s Ambulance, had been a star pupil at South Tyneside Professional and Vocational College after she studied floristry.
Her talents in the art allowed her to be fast-tracked through her course in time to have her second baby.
Following her death, she was described by her tutor as a “star student.”
Speaking at the time, principal at the college Alison Maynard said: “Melissa was a very talented florist and has been described as a star student by her tutor.
“She was determined to start her own business and was fast-tracked to complete her course early so that she could achieve the qualification before giving birth for a second time.
“Melissa was very passionate about floristry and worked very hard while with us.
“She had a natural flair for it and had great ambition to do well and to set up her own floristry shop.
“It is incredibly sad that she will not achieve that.”
During the hearing earlier this week, the court heard lawyers on both sides of the case have instructed expert forensic psychiatrists.
Prosecutors claim despite Ross’s mental state, he should be sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
His defence team claims Ross’s mental impairment was of a nature and degree that he should be sentenced to a hospital order.
Judge Paul Sloan QC will hear and read evidence from both sides before passing sentence at a later date.