One year on from her brutal murder friends will be gathering today to remember Staining teenager Sasha Marsden.
On January 31, 2013, the 16-year-old was killed by David Minto.
He had lured her to her death on the promise of a job at the South Shore hotel he lived in with his girlfriend’s family.
Sasha was stabbed 58 times in the head, neck and face by Minto, described as a “calculated killer”, before her body was wrapped in carpet, dumped in an alleyway and set alight.
Just a few hours earlier she had been excitedly discussing her future with a college tutor, looking forward to taking on a work placement to fulfil her ambitions to work in childcare.
The murder sent shockwaves through the community, not least at Blackpool and The Fylde College where the teenager was studying childcare.
Today Sasha’s friends and coursemates will take time out from lessons to remember her.
Tutor Mandy Pritchard, head of society, health and childhood at the Bispham campus, said: “The plan today is to give students space and time to get together and remember Sasha.
“It’s not traditional but that wasn’t really Sasha. She was popular, the centre of all things and cared deeply about others.
“We recognise life will be tough for some of them, they do talk about her all the time.”
The school has since named a trophy in Sasha’s memory, presenting the accolade to a student who had overcome challenges, just as the teenager, of Shaftesbury Avenue, Staining, did.
Mrs Pritchard added: “We talked with her family and thought that was a nice way to remember Sasha.
“She was absolutely determined and worked incredibly hard.
“The tragedy is she wasn’t able to fulfil her goal.
“It was so awful but she is still remembered and that’s lovely.”
Minto was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being found guilty of her murder in July.
Police described the hotel barman at the Grafton House Hotel, on Kirby Road, where the murder happened, as “evil”.
A neighbouring hotelier, owner of the Brooklyn Hotel Darren Roles, whose teenager daughter was a contemporary of Sasha’s at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said the murder has deeply affected his family.
He said: “I saw her body that night but we just thought it was a mannequin.
“It was horrible.
“I’ve a daughter the same age so that made it even worse, it makes you more protective.
“You just don’t know who to trust anymore.”
And the 44-year-old has told how the incident that day still haunts the otherwise quiet street.
He added: “It’s quieter than it used to be around here.
“If people search our hotel address on the internet now then that will come up, because it was in the news it seemed people were wary of the road and association of it.”