Crawley Down murder investigation: School pays tribute to ‘loved and respected’ teacher

A school has paid a moving tribute to a ‘dedicated’ teacher who died after an attack in Crawley Down.

The community was shocked when Amy Appleton, 32, was found dead outside a property close to her home in Hazel Way, along with Sandy Seagrave, 76, of Kiln Road, on Sunday, December 22.

Amy Appleton SUS-191230-142316001

Amy Appleton SUS-191230-142316001

Amy taught Year 5 at Copthorne CE Junior School, where she had worked for more than eight years.

In a statement released today, the school’s head teacher Joanna Francis said: “Amy was one of our most loved and respected teachers who was dedicated to giving the best education to all her pupils.

“Her passion and enthusiasm, sense of fun and cheerful nature has made a huge impact on our entire school community but especially on the children at Copthorne CE Junior school and those who she taught during her time here.

“Amy will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with Amy and her family at this terrible time.”

A Book of Condolence remains open at St John’s Church, in Copthorne village and the church has its doors open during daylight hours for people to pay their respects.

The school’s statement follows tributes paid by family members.

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A 37-year-old man, found seriously injured at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, where, police say, he remains but his condition continues to improve.

An inquest into the deaths was opened and adjourned on Tuesday. The coroner heard both women died from head injuries.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said: “I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims’ families, who continue to be supported by specialist trained officers. I would ask that people respect their privacy at this distressing time.”

Police continue to investigate the incident and say if anyone has any information they can report it online or call 101, quoting Operation Deanland.

Alternatively, they can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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