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Man in court charged with beating to death Christchurch woman Sharon Perrett

Sharon's body was found at Park Gardens, Somerford
Sharon's body was found at Park Gardens, Somerford

A MAN has appeared in court charged with the murder of Christchurch woman Sharon Perrett who was found beaten to death at a flat in the town in the early hours of Sunday.

Police launched an investigation after they were called to an address in Park Gardens, Somerford, at around 2.45am following a report that a 37-year-old woman had sustained serious injuries.

She was pronounced dead at the scene and the address was cordoned off. An initial post-mortem examination on Monday indicated the cause of death as blunt force trauma.

At Poole Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 38-year-old Daniel Raymond O’Malley-Keyes, of Chestnut Avenue, Bournemouth, spoke only to confirm his name, address, date of birth and nationality.

The court heard the murder charge could only be dealt with at crown court and O’Malley-Keyes was remanded in custody, due to appear at Winchester on Thursday.

Sharon, who worked at Avondene Rest Home in Stanpit, was allegedly beaten to death between last Friday and Sunday over the bank holiday weekend.

Sharon Perrett
Sharon Perrett

After O’Malley-Keyes was charged, Det. Insp. Rich Dixey, of Dorset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Following a fast-moving and thorough investigation, we have consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service, which has authorised a charge of murder.

“Family liaison officers have updated Sharon’s family with this development and continue to support them.

“It is also important to stress – as is typical in such circumstances – that it would be entirely inappropriate for Dorset Police to comment further ahead of the court process. It is vital that the justice system is allowed to follow its course.”

Officers carried out house-to-house enquiries in the area and appealed to anyone with information about the incident, or who may have witnessed anything suspicious in the Park Gardens area on Saturday night or early Sunday to contact Dorset Police as soon as possible.

There was an increased police presence in the area and officers also issued an appeal for witnesses who may have seen Sharon in Southbourne on Saturday evening.

Flowers left outside the block of flats where Sharon's body was found
Flowers left outside the block of flats where Sharon's body was found

Det. Insp. Dixey added: “We are particularly keen to speak to two people who came to the aid of a woman aged in her 30s, who was apparently intoxicated by the bus stop outside Lloyds Bank in Southbourne Grove, between around 8pm and 10pm. These people may have offered to call an ambulance for the woman.”

Tributes poured in on social media, with friends and family expressing their shock at the death of “fun and bubbly” Sharon, who was named by detectives although as the A&T went to press formal identification was yet to take place.

Sharon was a sister and aunt and had formerly attended The Grange School and Brockenhurst College. Her previous jobs had included delivering food around the Grange Road industrial estate, working at The Nelson Pub and also at Baggies café in Christchurch.

One poster on Facebook said: “She always had a smile”. Another said: “So sad to hear this. She was a lovely person.”

Floral tributes and teddy bears were laid at Park Gardens. One read: “Cannot believe I will never see your beaming smile again. The world today has lost a shining star.

“You will be missed by so many. You could brighten up the dullest day with your kindness and humour.”

A fundraising webpage has been set up to collect money for Sharon’s funeral at www.gofundme.com/to-lay-our-dear-friend-to-rest.

Describing Sharon as a very special friend to many people in Christchurch and beyond, the page said: “She was a well-loved girl around here, always a smile for everyone, the life and soul of the party. We all loved Sharon, and as a town devastated as to what’s happened.

“Sharon deserves the best after her life was so tragically cut short I think it’s the least as her good friends that we can do for her.”

Anyone with information can contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by calling 101, quoting incident number 26:57. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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