Tributes paid to Kewstoke murder victim

PUBLISHED: 09:31 07 July 2011 | UPDATED: 10:05 07 July 2011

Julie Tottle at Green Pastures Veterinary Surgery in 2006

Julie Tottle at Green Pastures Veterinary Surgery in 2006

Archant

FRIENDS of Julie Hotson who worked alongside her at Green Pastures Veterinary Centre or lived near her in Kewstoke have paid tribute to a 'lovely' colleague who they say will be 'missed beyond words'.

Mrs Hotson is believed to be the woman found dead in Kewstoke on Tuesday, in an incident which also left her husband Stephen seriously injured.

He remains ‘stable’ at Frenchay Hospital in Bristol but is under arrest in connection with his wife’s death - which police have today (Thurs) confirmed as murder.

Investigators say she died from head injuries following a ‘sustained assault’.

The reaction to the incident has been one of shock, which friends and colleagues paying tribute.

Mrs Hotson was a qualified veterinary nurse who worked as a part-time administrator at the surgery in Moor Lane.

Devastated colleagues say she will be fondly remembered for her love of horses and cats, and her talent as a flower arranger.

They said: “Julie was a caring, dedicated and much loved member of the Green Pastures team.

“Julie had worked at Green Pastures since its beginning in 1998 and she was a key person in its development - her judgement was always sound and her loyalty never in doubt.

“We are all devastated by the loss of this lovely person who we all highly valued and trusted to do so much. She will be missed beyond words.”

Neighbours, too, have been left stunned by the sequence of events which saw their village closed off by police for two days.

Kewside resident Victoria Shepherd, a former colleague of Mrs Hotson at Green Pastures, said: “When I heard what had happened it made me feel numb.

“Julie was such a lovely lady. Although she was quite quiet she was a very nice person to work with, and I know she loved her horses.”

Debbie Mathias, also of Kewside, said: “I knew the whole family and this is very sad.

“I bumped into someone who worked at the shop and she was in floods of tears – it’s just so unusual for something like this to happen here.

“I want to send my best wishes to the family and let them know that I am thinking of them.”

Tina Fry, who works part-time at the Royal Oak Stores, said: “I know no-one had any contact with Julie since Saturday night. One of her friends had tried to call her on Sunday morning to meet up with her, but she couldn’t get hold of her and that was very unusual.

“Julie was a very nice person, she kept herself to herself and was quite quiet, but she would always say hello.

“I know her mother is currently on holiday. It must be terrible news for her to take.”

Harry Angier, of Manor Gardens, said: “It’s sad that something like this has happened.

“Kewstoke is a lovely village and things like this do not happen around here. There are lots of rumours going around, but no-one is sure what has happened.

“A lot of people feel the police cordons were a bit over the top as so much of the village was blocked off.”

A Manor Gardens resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “Julie and Stephen were a very private couple. Everyone knew their faces, but that was about it.

“I used to admire Julie as I would often see her up early in the morning tending to her horses.

“Everyone knew her as a horse-lover and she could often be seen jogging through the village.”

Another Kewside resident said: “The whole village cannot believe this has happened. We all feel for Julie’s mother, who will be returning from holiday to such a horrific event.

“Apparently her work colleagues became concerned when she didn’t turn up to work.”

A Crookes Lane resident, who asked not to be named, said: “As a couple Julie and Stephen always kept themselves to themselves really.

“Julie was very nice though. Although she was quite quiet we would always have a quick chat whenever I saw her at the shop.”

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