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Tributes paid after two Matalan workers found dead near Cardiff city centre shop

Published 28/09/2016

South Wales Police are not looking for anyone else
South Wales Police are not looking for anyone else

Tributes have been paid after two Matalan employees were allegedly stabbed to death near the city centre store where they worked.

The bodies of Zoe Morgan, 21, from Llandaff North, and Lee Simmons, 33, from Grangetown, were discovered in Queen Street, Cardiff, at 5.50am on Wednesday.

South Wales Police arrested a 20-year-old man from Castleton, Newport, on suspicion of murder within an hour. He remains in police custody.

It is believed the suspect knew Mr Simmons and Miss Morgan, who were in a relationship. Officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Melanie Davidson, 40, was a manager at McDonald's, where Miss Morgan worked for several years until she graduated from the University of South Wales in June.

"I've never met such a kind, caring, sweet, loving and funny girl in all my 22 years of employment," she said.

"She was beautiful, not just on the outside but on the inside."

Hundreds of pounds have been donated to a JustGiving page in memory of Miss Morgan, which describes her as "fun, sweet and exceptionally kind and honest".

She had recently graduated from the university with an honours degree in fashion marketing and retail design.

A spokeswoman for the university said: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Zoe, who had been a popular and well-liked student who was now doing well in her chosen career.

"Our thoughts are with her family as we come together, as a close-knit university community, to support our students and colleagues who knew Zoe during her time with us."

The suspect was arrested with the assistance of Gwent Police officers at an address in Castleton within an hour of the incident being reported.

The bodies of Miss Morgan and Mr Simmons were discovered just two hours before the shop was due to open at 8am.

Post-mortem examinations will take place to determine the causes of death but it is believed that both victims sustained stab wounds.

Matalan chief executive Jason Hargreaves said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm that there was a fatal stabbing in Queen Street, Cardiff, this morning.

"Police discovered the bodies of a man and a woman outside the premises at 6am and arrested one man, who is currently in police custody.

"Both of the victims worked at our Cardiff branch so understandably all of our colleagues are receiving our full support.

"We request that they are given the space to deal with this at this difficult time.

"That is all we know at this stage and we are working tirelessly with the police in their investigations.

"We extend our condolences to the families of everyone involved."

A large section of Queen Street, the Welsh capital's main shopping thoroughfare, was closed throughout the morning.

Members of the public were unable to access much of the pedestrianised area, which was treated as a crime scene.

Stores including Topshop, Zara, River Island, Boots and Primark did not open on Wednesday morning.

Floral tributes were left outside the Matalan store, which remained closed all day.

A sign in the shop read: "Sorry for the inconvenience but we are closed today. We will be reopening on Thursday 29th September."

Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies, of South Wales Police, said: "This incident occurred in the main shopping area in the heart of the city in rush-hour and it has no doubt shocked the community of Cardiff.

"Please be reassured that we have a team of officers investigating what happened and, importantly, we have a suspect in custody and we are not looking for anybody else.

"We are in the very early stages of the investigation but I would like to add that at this stage we believe the suspect was known to the victims and it was not a random assault.

"I would like to dispel speculation circulating as to the motive behind this tragic incident and make it clear that this is not being linked to terrorism and any links to the homeless community are unfounded."

A force spokesman added that both families were being supported by specially trained liaison officers.

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