POLICE investigating the murder of a York woman and attempted murder of another have been given permission to question a suspect for longer. 

Detectives have been granted permission to question the man until midnight tonight.

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder at about 2.20am yesterday at an address in Popeshead Court, off High Ousegate after Nicole Waterhouse, 32, who worked for Hunters Estate Agency, was pronounced dead at a flat in Phoenix Boulevard, close to the National Railway Museum in the Leeman Road area of the city on Sunday.

Her 23-year-old colleague, Karen Browne, was found at the flat with serious injuries and was in a stable condition in York Hospital last night.

Estate agent Kevin Hollinrake spoke of his sorrow last night as it emerged that Nicole was the daughter of his business partner John Waterhouse.

Mr Hollinrake, director of Hunters, said: “Everyone is just devastated. We are a very close business and our thoughts are with John and his family at this time.”

Local reports suggested one of the women had suffered what appeared to be knife wounds to her shoulders, but North Yorkshire Police could not confirm this.

An ambulance was called to a block of six, privately owned flats followed by several police vehicles, including forensic teams.

Mr Hollinrake said Mr Waterhouse had asked the media to respect his family’s privacy at this time.

He also said Ms Browne was a sales advisor who had worked for the firm for about two years, mainly at its Wetherby office, and staff were very shocked by the incident.

He added: “Everyone’s thoughts are with the families of those concerned. We are waiting to hear news.”

Yesterday residents woke to find a large section of Phoenix Boulevard and neighbouring Bishopfields Drive cordoned off by police, with a mobile office and several officers guarding the scene while investigations took place.

A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder at about 2.20am yesterday at an address in Popeshead Court, off High Ousegate, and remained in police custody at time of going to press.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, of North Yorkshire Police’s major crime unit, confirmed the man arrested was known to at least one of the victims.

He said this was an isolated incident, though there would be extra patrols in the area to reassure the public.

Det Supt Malyn said: “I can therefore reassure the people of York that there is no threat to their safety.

“However, I fully appreciate that the incident has caused a great deal of upset and concern in the local community.

“Officers from the major crime unit are working to establish the sequence of events which led up to the suspected murder. We need to establish the time it occurred and the movements of the suspect afterwards.”

Police described the suspect as white, more than six feet tall, with an athletic build and short blond hair. He urged anyone who saw the man in the area on Sunday evening to phone them on 101, email yorkcid@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk or phone Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.


‘It’s the last thing you expect to hear anywhere, let alone here’

Local residents spoke of their shock to find their quiet community had become the scene of a murder investigation.

Ian Clancy, 52, and his partner live in a top-floor flat facing the scene, and said they heard banging from the flats shortly before the ambulance arrived.

He said: “Minutes later police turned up and I knew it was something really bad going on because I have never seen so many police.

“There must have been nine police vehicles and two ambulances at one stage.

“Then, a good half hour to 40 minutes later, I saw a girl coming out on a stretcher. She didn’t look good.

“It’s just unbelieveable. It’s just devastating really.”

Kirsty Grant, 29, said: “The first I heard was a phone call from a friend at 7am to see if I was okay. I didn’t even know anything had happened. I just can’t believe it.

“It’s an absolute shock. It’s quite a quiet estate and to think it happened on your doorstep – it’s not good, especially when I have got four children who play around here as well.

“You don’t think about anything like this happening around here.”

Margaret Raisbeck, whose house looks out over the scene, said: “It’s very quiet around here, you usually never see or hear anyone. I have lived here six years and I have never seen any police activity. It’s well known for being quiet.

“I feel terrible, it’s horrible, that poor lass. I feel sorry for both women.”

The Rev Ursula Simpson, vicar at St Barnabas’ Church, and her husband Roger moved into a house in Phoenix Boulevard at the weekend, and were on hand to support residents.

She said: “It was our first day yesterday. I went off early to the gym this morning and saw all these police vehicles here and wondered what was going on.

“You never know what it might be so I came back and was told it was murder.”

Rochanne Hardstaff, 22, lives in a flat facing the scene. She said: “I came down and spoke to a police officer to see if we were safe here or if we should go somewhere else, but she assured us if we stayed inside we would be fine.

“I’m really shocked, it’s quite scary and worrying because you don’t know what’s happened to cause it.”

Richard Harrison lives nearby and said: “It’s the last thing you expect to hear anywhere, let alone here. It’s dreadful.”