Monday, July 15, 2024

Pictured: 34-year-old fitness trainer Amie Gray named as victim of Bournemouth beach stabbing as friends pay tribute to ‘wonderful, human being who didn’t have any enemies’

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A fitness trainer who was named as the victim of the horrific Bournemouth beach stabbing has been pictured for the first time.

Friends of Amie Gray paid tribute to a ‘wonderful human being who didn’t have any enemies’.

The 34-year-old from Poole was found with stab wounds on Durley Chine Beach in the popular tourist destination shortly before midnight on Friday, May 24. She was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.

Dorset Police said a 38-year-old, who is also from Poole, is still being treated by medics after she was seriously injured in the stabbing.

Police officers have been seen scanning Bournemouth beach with metal detectors this afternoon in an apparent hunt for the murder weapon while a 17-year-old boy from Lancashire remains in custody on suspicion of murder.

Did YOU see what happened? Email miriam.kuepper@mailonline.co.uk 

Friends of Amie Gray (pictured) paid tribute to a ‘wonderful human being who didn’t have any enemies’

A picture posted by one of Amie's relatives showed her with an award, which she received for her work with the club

A picture posted by one of Amie’s relatives showed her with an award, which she received for her work with the club

People are unable to go on to the beach west of the pier due to the police cordon

People are unable to go on to the beach west of the pier due to the police cordon

A police forensics officer scours Durley Chine Beach for evidence on Saturday after the attack

A police forensics officer scours Durley Chine Beach for evidence on Saturday after the attack

Detective Superintendent Richard Dixey, pictured at a press conference today, has called speculation about the circumstances of the crime 'unhelpful'

Detective Superintendent Richard Dixey, pictured at a press conference today, has called speculation about the circumstances of the crime ‘unhelpful’ 

Flowers were left for the two stabbing victims a day after the attack late on Friday

Flowers were left for the two stabbing victims a day after the attack late on Friday

They were carefully combing the area where what appears to be blood had stained the sand near a groyne at Durley Chine.

More flowers have been laid in tribute to Amie at Alum Chine on the other side of the mile-long cordon which extends to Bournemouth pier.

A friend of Amie’s told the Sun: ‘It is such a shocking thing to happen. She was a wonderful human being and didn’t have any enemies.’

Amie was the head ladies coach for Dorset Football Club, which said they ‘couldn’t put this into words at this time’ as they changed their profile picture to a black square.

The post read: ‘Today the club has received some truly devastating news. We cannot put this into words at this time and as a mark of respect to all those affected, we will not be posting anything new for the foreseeable future.’

Commenting on the post, one woman wrote: ‘Cannot process this. love to everyone today and in the days to come.’

A picture posted by one of Amie’s relatives showed her with an award, which she received for her work with the club.

‘So sorry for your loss, she was a beautiful person,’ a friend commented on the photo.

Alongside a collage of photos, a friend of Amie’s posted on Facebook: ‘Fly high Amie Gray, I’ll miss you so much. I feel so heavy.

‘You were such a good friend and someone I could call about anything. 

‘A beautiful person inside and out, Thank you for all the laughs and memories I will cherish forever.’

A different friend wrote: ‘I cannot believe what I’m hearing right now. 

‘I literally spoke to you last night and was supposed to see you tomorrow.’

It has now been nearly two days since the Durley Chine section of beach, and all the businesses within it, were closed to the public.

Speaking at a press conference today, detectives aimed to reassure the public following the shocking incident and revealed that additional police officers will be on patrol for the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend.

A police officer stands guard at the cordon underneath Bournemouth Pier on Saturday

A police officer stands guard at the cordon underneath Bournemouth Pier on Saturday

Police cordoned off a mile-long stretch of beach to the west of Bournemouth Pier on Saturday

Police cordoned off a mile-long stretch of beach to the west of Bournemouth Pier on Saturday

Detective Superintendent Richard Dixey, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, told reporters this morning: ‘Dorset Police would like reassure communities that we are investigating at pace the full circumstances of a woman’s death in Bournemouth.

‘At 11.42pm on Friday, May 24, Dorset Police received a report that two people had been stabbed on Durley Chine Beach. 

‘Very sadly a 34-year-old woman from Poole was pronounced dead at the scene. 

‘A 38-year-old woman from Poole was taken to hospital with serious injuries where she continues to receive treatment. 

‘A 17-year-old boy from Lancashire has been arrested and remains in custody at this time.’

He added that speculation being shared online about the incident was ‘unhelpful’ given the early stages of the investigation.

‘We recognise the impact this incident has on our communities and are aware of speculation already appearing online about the possible circumstances,’ DS Dixey said. 

‘It is important to state that our investigation is still in the very early stages and it is unhelpful to speculate as to why this tragedy has happened, especially as an arrest has been made. Further updates will be provided as the investigation develops.’

He added: ‘Since we received the report of this tragic incident where a woman has lost her life and another woman has been seriously injured, our detectives – assisted by many colleagues around the organisation – have worked tirelessly to progress the investigation. 

‘Our thoughts remain with family and friends of the victims who are being supported by specialist officers during this incredibly difficult time.

‘I want to reassure our communities in Dorset as well as the many people who choose to visit our county during the bank holiday weekend that we are exploring all available lines of enquiry to establish the motives for this horrendous incident.

Pictured: A patch of blood which was found near a groyne at the Bournemouth beach where two women were stabbed on Friday night

Pictured: A patch of blood which was found near a groyne at the Bournemouth beach where two women were stabbed on Friday night

The double stabbing took place on Durley Chine Beach, close to Bournemouth Pier

The double stabbing took place on Durley Chine Beach, close to Bournemouth Pier

Aerial footage shows a large stretch of Durley Chine Beach closed off to the public on Sunday morning

Aerial footage shows a large stretch of Durley Chine Beach closed off to the public on Sunday morning

‘We understand the concern that the public will have as a result of this incident. There will be an enhanced police presence in the area and we are also working closely with our partner agencies and community groups to address this. 

‘If you are in the area and have concerns, please do not hesitate to speak to an officer.

‘I would also like to use this opportunity to renew my appeal for anyone with information who has not yet spoken to officers to please contact us.

‘Notwithstanding that we have arrested someone, and enquiries are ongoing in that regard, we remain particularly keen to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of Durley Chine beach between 10pm on Friday, May 24, and midnight that same day who saw anything unusual.

‘Similarly, anyone who was in the area of Durley roundabout, West Cliff Gardens, Durley Gardens and West Cliff Drive between the same times. Did you see anyone acting strangely? Do you have dashcam or CCTV footage that may assist the enquiry? 

‘Information can be uploaded through our dedicated Major Incident Public Portal for this case.’

Aerial photographs show what appeared to be a large patch of blood near a groyne.

Police have cordoned off a one-mile stretch of the beach from west of the pier to Alum Chine.   

As a result, the beach on the other side of the pier is filling up rapidly, with officers directing revellers towards it.

All businesses within the cordon, including the Bournemouth Oceanarium and several restaurants and beach bars, remain closed as investigations continue.

BCP Council tweeted: ‘Due to an ongoing police investigation, a Police cordon remains in place between the Bournemouth Oceanarium and the Western side of Alum Chine.

An aerial look at the west side of the Bournemouth Pier which remains closed

An aerial look at the west side of the Bournemouth Pier which remains closed

A large stretch of the beach and promenade has been closed following the stabbing

A large stretch of the beach and promenade has been closed following the stabbing

A forensic officer at work at Durley Chine Beach today following the death

A forensic officer at work at Durley Chine Beach today following the death

‘The beach, promenade, beach huts, Durley Chine car park, all businesses and access points within the cordon are currently closed.’  

Jo Taylor, who lives in nearby Christchurch, said she was already nervous to come into Bournemouth due to being a woman on her own. She added that knife crime was not punished severely enough.

Another couple said: ‘We’ve come all the way down from Bethnal Green to find a stabbing here in sunny Bournemouth.’

Ali Townsend, 50, a marketing director on holiday from Cheltenham with her husband and son, said they are meant to be renting a beach hut within the cordon this weekend.

She said: ‘It is just awfully tragic that a young woman has died and another is fighting for her life.

‘We are staying near to where it happened at Alum Chine and were thinking of going for a walk last night, but decided not to.

‘The increased police presence means I don’t feel scared but something like this puts things into perspective.’

Local MP Sir Conor Burns expressed his horror at the ‘tragic, brutal’ incident.

He said: ‘Yet another tragic, brutal event locally.

A forensic officer takes a photograph of evidence on the beach in Dorset

A forensic officer takes a photograph of evidence on the beach in Dorset

Two police officers walk along a stretch of the Bournemouth sea front following the tragedy

Two police officers walk along a stretch of the Bournemouth sea front following the tragedy

Police were called to the incident on Durley Chine Beach at the popular Dorset seaside town at 11.42pm on Friday night

Police were called to the incident on Durley Chine Beach at the popular Dorset seaside town at 11.42pm on Friday night 

Flowers were left close to Bournemouth pier near the scene today

Flowers were left close to Bournemouth pier near the scene today

‘One will want to reassure the public that one of the reasons that these events are still so newsworthy is that they are still so relatively rare.

‘We want to hear quickly from the police what they are finding and hope that this is an isolated, random act of violence, as so often these things are.’

The violent attacks took place on Durley Chine beach, a few hundred metres west of a Harvester restaurant.

Helicopters could be heard circling overhead for an hour on Friday night from midnight as the manhunt began.

This morning, two forensic vans are parked on the promenade and a team of forensics officers are scouring that area of beach.

An ambulance is also on the promenade and police officers are stationed on the cliff top to stop holidaymakers accessing the beach via the zig zag steps.

Durley Chine, 15 minutes walk west of Bournemouth pier, is a favourite spot of families as it is normally quieter and less rowdy than the pier beach area.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to flock to the beach today at the start of the Bank Holiday weekend to make the most of the 60F sunshine.

One holidaymaker on the cliff top said: ‘This is such a beautiful place. What has happened breaks my heart.’

People took to social media to express their shock at the stabbings, which are the latest in a string of serious crimes to take place on Bournemouth beach in recent years.

Tina-Jayne Smith said: ‘Absolutely shocking, what is happening to our town? Thoughts are with the families of the women xx.’

A 34-year-old woman from Poole was pronounced dead at the scene while a 38-year-old woman from Poole was taken to hospital with very serious injuries

A 34-year-old woman from Poole was pronounced dead at the scene while a 38-year-old woman from Poole was taken to hospital with very serious injuries

Tracy Craddock-Marks added: ‘This is absolutely shocking and horrendous. What on earth is this world coming to?!!!! I fear for the future of our children.

‘Love and thoughts go out to the families and prayers for the lady in hospital.’

Superintendent Gavin House, of Dorset Police, said: ‘Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the woman who very tragically lost her life.

‘A full and detailed investigation is underway.

‘I would ask anyone who saw what happened or has any information about the offender and has not yet spoken to officers to please contact us urgently.

‘The beach has been cordoned off to enable officers to conduct a thorough investigation of the scene. I would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding while this vital work takes place.

‘Members of the public will see an increased police presence in the area over the coming days and officers from the local neighbourhood policing team can be approached with any concerns.’

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk/do-it-online, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 24:707.

Alternatively, independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously online at Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling Freephone 0800 555 111.

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