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Family says woman bludgeoned to death was ‘light in our life’

A 47-year-old man has appeared in court in connection with the incident.

The family of a woman found dead in a bed after failing to turn up to her own birthday celebrations have said the “light in our life” is now “extinguished”.

Christina Abbotts, 29, was found bludgeoned to death in Crawley on Friday night.

Her family described her as “sweet” and “loving” in a tribute released on their behalf by Sussex Police.

They said of Ms Abbotts, who studied in Cirencester and Oxford: “This independent lady, a much travelled person was taken from us far too early.

“Her friends in London and parts of the UK will also be grieving.

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The next hearing will take place at Lewes Crown Court (Tom Pugh/PA)

“The light in our life is now extinguished. Love forever from our family.”

Zahid Naseem appeared in court on Monday morning charged with her murder.

Dressed in a grey tracksuit, the dark-haired 47-year-old spoke only to confirm his name, age and address at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.

Naseem, who knew Ms Abbotts, was arrested at the property, police said.

She had been living at the flat in the Gossops Green area of the West Sussex town.

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Christina Abbotts lived in a flat in Gossops Green (Flora Thompson/PA)

The preliminary cause of death from a post-mortem examination is blunt force trauma to the head, a force spokesman said.

Neighbours told how police “flooded” into the street shortly after 10.30pm on Friday after friends, who were worried when she failed to turn up to meet them in London, raised the alarm.

Maria Slater, prosecuting, asked for the case to be sent straight to a crown court because the nature of the allegation was so serious.

Naseem, of Elm Close, Amersham in Buckinghamshire, nodded as magistrates told him he would be remanded in custody to appear at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday before being led away from the dock.

Detective Chief Inspector Emma Heater said: “We are supporting Christina’s family and they have asked for privacy at this time.

“We are investigating the circumstances of her death and are keen to hear anyone who might have seen or heard anything which might help with our investigation.”

Anyone with information should contact police quoting Operation Grayhill.

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