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First pictures of young Matalan couple 'stabbed to death' outside shopping centre after finishing nightshift

Mirror Mirror 28/09/2016

Lee Simmons and Zoe Morgan © Facebook Lee Simmons and Zoe Morgan These are the first pictures of the young couple who were allegedly stabbed to death on one of Britain's busiest high streets in the early hours of today.

Zoe Morgan, 21, and Lee Simmons, 34, who both worked for Matalan, were found dead outside the store on Queen Street in Cardiff, Wales, shortly before 6am.

The pair, who had been dating for less than four months, were reportedly killed in a knife attack as they left work together after finishing their overnight shifts.

Police say the 20-year-old suspect is believed to have been known to them.

Zoe, a window dresser for Matalan, and Lee, a shop assistant, had struck up a romance while working at the store near the popular St David's Shopping Centre.

Friends said devoted Lee called his girlfriend: "My Tinkerbell."

This morning, it was claimed that the employee heroically tried to save his partner as she was attacked outside the store - Matalan's first High Street branch in the UK.

One local wrote on Facebook: "It was a young girl on her way to work the gentleman involved was trying to help her so sad how any1 can be so cruel."

A sign in the window of the Matalan store in Queen Street, Cardiff, close to where the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the city centre © PA A sign in the window of the Matalan store in Queen Street, Cardiff, close to where the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the city centre A colleague said: "This is a terrible tragedy. They had only started seeing each other and made a lovely couple. We are all in bits and no-one could face opening the store today."

Other co-workers were expressing their shock and disbelief on social media this morning.

In a statement to Mirror Online, Matalan CEO Jason Hargreaves confirmed two workers at the Cardiff branch had been found dead in Queen Street.

He 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.”

Dozens of police officers and several medics descended on the street at around 5.50am after the victims' bodies were found amid pools of blood.

Massive cordons have since been put up at the scene, with businesses forced to close and hundreds of shop and office workers sent home.

Reports suggest Zoe and Lee, who have been named locally, were stabbed to death.

A gruesome photo of the scene shows a huge pool of blood on the ground outside a Boots store.

Police say a man from Newport has been arrested and they are currently not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.

The suspect was detained at his home 25 minutes after the victims' bodies were discovered.

Zoe, who lived with her parents, had studied fashion at the University of South Wales before landing the job as a 'visual merchandiser' at the giant Matalan store in June this year.

She lived with her parents in Cardiff who were described as being 'distraught' at her death.

A neighbour said: "She was so excited about starting work and everything was going so well for her. Zoe went off to work as normal but never came home.

"She was a beautiful girl and this is terrible."

Lee, of Grangetown, Cardiff, had worked at the store since it opened in October 2014 and became the retailer's first ever UK high street store.

The pair began dating in July and were described as 'being in the first flush of romance'.

Forensic officers at the scene in Queen Street, near Cardiff Castle after the bodies of a man and a woman were found in Cardiff city centre © PA Forensic officers at the scene in Queen Street, near Cardiff Castle after the bodies of a man and a woman were found in Cardiff city centre Lee, who was working the overnight shift to prepare the shop for customers, lived with his widowed mother, who was today being comforted by friends and police liaison officers.

South Wales Police confirmed that a man and a woman died in the incident. The force added that the victims' families have been informed of their deaths.

A spokesperson said: "South Wales Police have arrested a 20 year-old man from the Castleton area of Gwent in connection with the murder of a 33 year-old man and a 21 year-old woman in Queen Street, Cardiff, at approximately 5.50am today (28 September, 2016).

"He was arrested with the assistance of Gwent police officers, at an address in Castleton, within an hour of the incident being reported. He is currently detained in Cardiff Bay police station.

"Police are not looking for anybody else in connection with the incident.

"The identities of the two victims who both resided in Cardiff have been established and both families have been informed - they are being provided with support by South Wales Police at this time.

"Post mortem examinations will be carried out to determine the causes of the deaths. At this stage it is believed that they sustained stab wounds.

"It is being investigated by Major Crime and an incident room has been set up at Cardiff Central police station."

Chief Superintendent Belinda Davies added: "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 general view of the Matalan store in Queen Street, Cardiff, close to where the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the city centre © PA A general view of the Matalan store in Queen Street, Cardiff, close to where the bodies of a man and a woman were found in the city centre Shop workers today described their shock at the suspected stabbing.

Sarah Ridings, team leader jewellery concessions at Matalan, told WalesOnline: “I don’t really know what’s going on.

“I manage a team of girls across Cardiff, but obviously most of our work is in Queen Street, which is closed.

"I’m trying to get in touch with head office and find out more and put a plan of action in place. it’s shocking.”

A second Queen Street employee, who did not wish to be named, said she had been waiting with a group of her co-workers for hours.

She said: “The police have said that Queen Street will be closed for a couple of hours, if not all day.

"I’m waiting to hear whether we will be allowed to go to work at all day.”

Other store workers and bystanders were taking to social media this morning to express their concern at the incident.

One Twitter user posted an image of a police officer speaking to a member of the public, writing: "Queen Street in Cardiff is shut due to a stabbing last night."

A second, called Ellis Tucker, tweeted: "Walked down Cardiff queen street this morning and it was closed with a lot of police there."

He added that he had heard two people were 'stabbed and killed'.

A third user, Alex Evans, wrote: "Whole of Queen Street cordoned off this morning."

She added that she hoped it wasn't 'something terrible'.

The ambulance service confirmed it was called to the scene this morning.

A spokesperson said: “We had a call at approximately 5.50am this morning, Wednesday 28 September 2016, to an incident in the Queen Street area of Cardiff.

"We sent a paramedic in a rapid response car, three emergency ambulances and the Trust’s Hazardous Area Response Team to the scene.”

Queen Street, which stretches half a mile, is visited by tens of thousands of shoppers every day.

The large Matalan flagship store was given a grand opening by Welsh fashion designer Julien Macdonald.

The 40,000 sq ft shop employs 366 people and is split across four floors, selling budget clothes and homewear.

Anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the South Wales Police incident room on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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