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Family leave floral tributes to wedding planner and daughter

A man has been arrested after the bodies of Laura Mortimer and her 11-year-old daughter were found at a house in Gloucester on Monday.

The family of an “inspirational” mother and daughter who are at the centre of a double murder investigation have paid tribute to them.

Laura Mortimer, 31, and her 11-year-old daughter Ella Dalby were both pronounced dead at a house in Dexter Way, Gloucester.

Police had been called to modern terrace property on the outskirts of the city early on bank holiday Monday morning responding to reports that two people had been seriously injured.

A 28-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.

The mother of 31-year-old Laura Mortimer pays tribute to her and her 11-year-old granddaughter Ella Dalby (Rod Minchin/PA)

In floral tributes left outside the property, Ms Mortimer’s mother wrote: “To my very beautiful daughter Laura and beautiful granddaughter Ella.

“You will always be in my heart and be loved and missed very much. Lots of love, sleep tight, Mum and Hen.”

Ms Mortimer’s sister wrote: “To my amazing, beautiful sister Laura and niece Ella. Words can’t explain how I feel, I’m broken.

“Love you to the moon and back, love Jo, Jon, Riley and Haleigh. Sleep tight baby girls.”

The sister of 31-year-old Laura Mortimer writes of here loss in a floral tribute left at Dexter Way in Gloucster (Rod Minchin/PA)

Ms Mortimer, a mother-of-three, ran her own business, Sweet Beginnings, offering bespoke bridal gowns and wedding planning services.

A wedding photographer based in Gloucestershire, who did not wish to be named, said: “Laura was a lovely lady with a kind word for everyone.

“An inspiration to many people not only personally but in the wedding industry too.

“She worked so hard to get where she did and was extremely well respected throughout Gloucestershire and beyond.

“I know every Sweet Beginnings bride and wedding supplier is thinking of her and her family.”

Tributes have been paid on Facebook, with one writing: “My thoughts and prayers go to Laura and her daughter and to the rest of their family.

Floral tributes left outside the house in Dexter Way (Rod Minchin/PA)

“Just heart breaking news. She was such an inspirational young woman and her daughter had her whole life in front of her. Just so sad.”

Sarah Tufnell, the head of Barnwood Park Arts College where Ella was a student, paid tribute to the 11-year-old speaking of her “passion” for dance.

“The whole school community is incredibly shocked and deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the death of one of our Year 7 students, Ella Dalby, and her mum, Laura,” she said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ella’s family and friends at this time and we will do all we can to support them and Ella’s many friends in school in the weeks and months ahead.

A white Vauxhall Movano van is taken away on a low loader (Rod Minchin/PA)

“Barnwood Park is a small and tightly-knit school, and Ella was involved enthusiastically in our school life, having a particular passion for dance.

“She also helped recently with her form’s contribution for our school cultural day. She will be deeply missed by us all.

“We will be working with the relevant agencies to make sure that appropriate support is put in place for our students when they return to school next week as we try to deal with losing Ella in these tragic circumstances.”

Police investigations were continuing at the house in Dexter Way, which is part of the new St Oswald’s Park housing estate built on the site of a former cattle market.

A white Vauxhall Movano van and a black Renault Laguna were loaded onto trucks and driven away from Dexter Way.

Gloucester deaths

“A 28-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of the murder of the woman and the girl. He is still being questioned by officers,” a police spokesman said.

“Forensic enquiries will be continuing and post-mortem examinations are due to take place in the coming days.

“The family of the victims has asked for privacy at this time. We would like to thank the local community for their patience and assistance today.

“Multi-agency meetings will be held over the coming days, with the aim of providing support to our communities, particularly young people.”

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