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'I didn't do anything' says man arrested on suspicion of murdering Cherie Hayward
THE MAN arrested on suspicion of murdering his partner has denied any part in her death.
Cherie Hayward, 31, was pronounced dead by paramedics in her own bedroom after her lifeless body was found on the floor.
Her partner, Brian Thompson, 61, was arrested on suspicion of murder.
He has protested his innocence after being released from custody on bail having spent the night being questioned by detectives.
Speaking to the Daily Echo from his home in Nichols Road in St Mary’s, Southampton, where Ms Hayward’s body was found, he said: “I knew they [the police] would have to take me away. It was an unexplained body.
“I understand it’s part of the process – but I did not do anything.
I did not do anything and she’s gone.
“The only time it started to sink in was when I came back [from the police station] one and a bit hours ago.
“I can’t believe she’s gone.”
Holding back tears, he said: “We were planning a quiet Christmas, just the two of us.”
Paying tribute to Miss Hayward, he described her as generous, kind and funny.
Although currently unemployed, she had hoped one day to work with animals.
Mr Thompson believes that suspicions that he may have murdered her will be dropped once the toxicology results come back following a postmortem examination.
He spoke of how his partner had been depressed since the death of her father several years ago.
Mr Thompson said Cherie, whom he had known for eight years but only recently formed a serious relationship with, had gone to bed before him on Friday.
And when he got up the next day he thought she was having a weekend lie-in.
But as the evening progressed she still had not stirred.
He said: “I stuck my head into the bedroom to make sure she was all right. She was facing down on the bedroom floor.
“I thought she had fallen and then I went down to her and I could see her back was not moving.
“Her head was stuck under the bed and I pulled her out from it.
“I still could not see her breathing and I tried to get a pulse on her. But I couldn’t find a pulse and I immediately phoned an ambulance.
“I was being talked to by the control room people to do CPR on her. Then the ambulance crew came here.
“About 40 minutes later one of the paramedics came through and just said ‘sorry, I have something to tell you’.”
Detectives then launched an investigation, taped off the home on Saturday night and arrested Mr Thompson.
He was released from custody after being held overnight.
His neighbour, Dave Emmett, 74, who lives in another flat within the house, said he was “absolutely devastated” to hear of Ms Hayward’s death.
But he insisted Mr Thompson was innocent.
He said: “I have known Brian for five years and that man would not lay a finger on a woman.
“I am disappointed in him being treated in this way.”
Other neighbours in the street described their shock at the death.
One said: “I am really upset, I knew her, it was so sad.”
A statement from Hampshire Police said: “Detectives are investigating the death of a 31- year-old woman in Southampton.
“Officers were called to an address in Nichols Road just before 8pm on Saturday by the ambulance service.
“The woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
“A post-mortem examination is currently under way to establish the cause of death.”