THE former boyfriend of murdered Jillian Howell has told of her beautiful smile and how she will always have a place in his heart.

Ms Howell, 46, was brutally stabbed to death at her home in Sandgate Road, Brighton, last Thursday.

David Browning, a 51-year-old payroll officer from Willow Drive, Seaford, will appear in court today charged with her murder and possession of a bladed article.

Over the weekend, friends of Ms Howell contacted The Argus to pay tribute to the Albion season ticket holder and Samaritans volunteer.

Peter Hunt was Ms Howell’s boyfriend in the early 1990s.

He said: “I was Jill’s boyfriend for three and a half years in the early 90s and am utterly shocked to hear of her being the victim of the murder in Sandgate Road.

“She has always held a place in my heart and will forever do so.

“We had many very happy times together. I have a picture of us together, just before leaving for my graduation ball.

“She is wearing an elegant dress and has the most beautiful smile. At that moment, I felt like the luckiest man alive.”

Mr Hunt said his former girlfriend had a strong affection for Brighton and Hove Albion, a love shared by both of them.

“We’d occasionally bump into each other in passing and exchange conversation,” he said.

“Most recently, a couple of months ago. She was always keen to chat about the Seagulls current performances.”

Ms Howell is a former employee of Palmer and Harvey, a wholesaler based in Davigdor Road, Hove, where she worked as a payroll and pension manager until 2015.

Her body was discovered at 6.30am at her home in Sandgate Road in the Fiveways area of Brighton.

Robert Jeeves, an old neighbour of Ms Howell’s, echoed Mr Hunt’s comments about her deep love for the Seagulls.

He said: “We were neighbours a few years ago and she worked in the same building as me in Queen’s Road.

“Last time I saw her was at an away match at Reading – she loved her football.”

Mr Jeeves also spoke of Ms Howell’s friendly traits. She said: “When I split up with my wife, we went out a couple of times.

“She knew I was very unhappy about it help me a lot at the time.”

He finished with a message to his old friend, saying: “You were so kind to me and such a lovely person. You will be missed so very much.”

Ms Howell was born and raised in Brighton, attending Margaret Hardy School for Girls, which is now Patcham High School, in the 1980s.

Friends have been left grief-stricken by the news of the 46-year-old’s untimely death.

Jacqueline McDonald knew her as a family friend.

She said: “I knew Jillian briefly. She was a friend of my family and I met her on a few occasions while visiting Brighton and Worthing.

“Jillian was a charming lady, intelligent and extremely sweet.

“She had a bright and lovely face, always smiling. For Jill to die in such a manner is too dreadful for words; I will remember her always with warmth. May her soul rest in peace.”

Friend Joe Binns said of Ms Howell: “I am struggling to come to terms with this news.

“Jill was such a gentle and caring person, who always saw the best in people and put them before herself.”