Model and Hollyoaks star found stabbed to death at home
A former drama student who had worked for the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks and modelled for Cosmopolitan magazine has been found with fatal stab wounds in her home following what detectives believe was a row with her boyfriend.
Amy Leigh Barnes, 19, was a popular figure on Manchester's social scene, where she had met and later dated the Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy. The pair were no longer romantically involved.
She was taken to hospital with stab wounds after police were called to her home in Bolton on Saturday morning, but died of her injuries.
Police in Birmingham later arrested a 21-year-old man. He was taken to Manchester, where he was questioned on suspicion of murder last night.
Ms Barnes had only recently moved into a terraced house in Moss Street, Farnworth, having lived near Bolton with her mother, Kathryn, 40, an artist who teaches at a sixth-form college, and her stepfather, John Killiner, 36, a welder.
"Amy was a very special person and much loved by her family and friends, of which she had many," they said. "She was the most beautiful princess. We loved our baby so much, she was our reason for living. We as a family are absolutely distraught and destroyed. Words cannot express the pain we are in. We will not rest until justice has been done for our gorgeous daughter."
Ms Barnes was educated at the Lords Independent School in Bolton, and later studied performing arts at Pendleton College, Salford.
She taught drama at The Phoenix in Bolton, a charity offering performing arts training to children and young people, but after making the finals of last year's Miss British Isles contest and the UK Model of the Year competition, she had begun to focus on her burgeoning modelling career, posing for men's magazines including Playboy and Nuts.
Following her success in the competitions, she told a local newspaper: "I have always modelled but I have never really entered any competitions before and I didn't really think this would come to anything. It was just something I thought I would have a go at. I want to stick with modelling now. I've been getting more and more work and my parents are behind me all the way."
She was a regular at fashionable clubs in Manchester, Bolton and Blackburn where she met a number of footballers, including McCarthy, 31. Friends on her Facebook page included Leroy Lita of Norwich, Fraizer Campbell of Manchester United and Tottenham, and Everton's Phil Jagielka. A number of players have posted website tributes to her, including Ishmael Miller of West Bromwich Albion and Paul Black of Oldham.
A friend said: "Amy Leigh was the life and soul of the party and she will be deeply missed. She was very popular and loved going out night after night.
"She knew loads of footballers and went on dates with them. Although she knew lots of people, she never let it go to her head. It is a tragedy that her life has been so cruelly cut short."
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder following the death of a 19-year-old woman in Farnworth. At 11.40am on Saturday, police were called to an address in Moss Street after reports that a woman had been stabbed. She was taken to hospital, where she later died."