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Woman killed after being lured back to Pontypridd flat

Brian Manship, of Llys Graig Y Wion, Pontypridd, was jailed for the murder of Sarah Hassall at Swansea Crown Court.

The 38 year-old man from Pontypridd was sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum term of 20 years.

Sarah Hassall was brutally stabbed at Brian Manship’s flat where they went after meeting in Pontypridd town centre in the early hours of Sunday, 6th October, 2020.

A neighbour contacted police after he heard noises and officers forced entry to the flat to discover Sarah’s body wrapped in a curtain.

Brian Manship

Brian Manship escaped through a first floor window, but hours later was found hiding in undergrowth by firearms officers, not far from the flat.

Manship was arrested and charged with Sarah’s murder – he pleaded guilty on 17th January, 2020, at Swansea Crown Court.

Chief Inspector Mark O’shea, of the South Wales Police Major Crime Team, said: “Sarah Hassall was a young mother to two small children. She is deeply missed by them. She was a military veteran who took huge pride in her service to this country.

“She was a much loved wife, daughter and sister, as well as a friend to many people. I have spoken with those that knew her and the grief they feel is palpable and powerful. This is indicative of the huge loss felt by the many people who loved her.

“On the 6th of October last year she was lured to Manship’s flat and killed in the most dreadful way. The investigation and court proceedings have shown Manship to be a self-serving individual who is clearly a danger to society and to women in particular.

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“She was brutally murdered by him in a completely unprovoked and inexplicable attack. I believe he had exploited the inherent trust she placed in all the people she met.

“Sarah loved meeting new people, experiencing adventures and was someone who felt life was something to be lived to the fullest. She had a bright future and was looking forward to raising her children to be as adventurous as she was.

“Whilst no sentence will ever replace the loss suffered by Sarah’s family, Manship has today been sentenced to life imprisonment for his heinous crime.

“I wish to pay tribute to the quiet dignity of Sarah’s family and friends as they endured the pain of hearing the detail of Sarah’s death and have done so with great fortitude.

“I would also like to thank the people of Pontypridd who alerted police to Sarah’s plight and provided vital evidence which assisted in us securing the conviction of Manship.”

Sarah Hassall was from Chelmsford, Essex – at the time of her death her family paid tribute to her, saying that she dedicated herself to 14 years of military service in both the RAF and Royal Engineers. Sarah had left the army in 2010 to raise her two young boys, Owain and Evan. Her husband and father to their children, described how Sarah was his best friend and touched many more lives along the way. Specially trained family liaison officers continue to support Sarah’s family at this time.

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