A WOMAN seen kissing passionately in a village pub was stabbed to death in a "brutal sustained attack" just hours later.
Regulars at the Hardwick Hotel in Blackhall, near Peterlee, County Durham, said the murder victim, named by police yesterday as mother-of-three Lisa Leckenby, 28, was asked to leave on Saturday afternoon.
The following morning she was found stabbed to death at her terraced home in Tenth Street, Blackhall, less than half a mile away.
Ms Leckenby and a male companion had spent part of Saturday afternoon drinking in the Hardwick Hotel in Middle Street.
The manager, who declined to be named, said: “I hadn’t seen the couple before, but they were in here on Saturday afternoon.
“They were kissing passionately, all over each other, so much so that regulars were complaining.
“After a short while, one of my bar staff told me she had refused to serve them any more drink because the girl had obviously had too much.
“The man asked my staff member to order them a taxi and they left without any argument.
“I had thought nothing of the incident until yesterday when CID came in here asking questions.”
Neighbours said Miss Leckenby had only lived in the village for a matter of weeks. One local resident, a pizza delivery driver, said: “I would come home in the early hours and want to go to sleep. But I would be kept awake by loud music and shouting.
“She lived with a man, but he only seemed to be around at weekends. Neither of them were from Blackhall, they had only moved into the village recently.”
Durham Police said they had arrested a man, 42, in Newcastle on Sunday on suspicion of murdering Miss Leckenby. She was found at about 10.30am on Sunday. Paramedics attended but she was certified dead at the scene.
The man leading the inquiry, Det Supt Ken Donnelly, said a post mortem had been carried out in the early hours of yesterday by Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper.
The officer added: “The victim met her death as a result of a sustained violent attack. I would appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity of Tenth Street late on Saturday night or early yesterday morning and witnessed anything suspicious to contact us.
“An arrest has been made, but our inquiries are ongoing and I would urge anyone who has any information at all about this incident, however insignificant it may seem, to get in touch.”
Anyone with information should contact Peterlee CID on 0345 6060 365 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The suspect was being quizzed at Peterlee police station yesterday.