THE family of a murdered school teacher have described her as “incredible” and “dedicated”.

Amy Appleton was one of two women killed at Hazel Way, Crawley Down, before Christmas.

The 32-year-old taught at the Copthorne Church of England School and was a committed member of St John’s Church there.

Yesterday Amy’s family issued a tribute to her, thanking people for their words and messages of support.

The family said: “We have lost a beautiful, caring daughter, sister and friend. Amy had an amazing personality.

“She was such a strong, positive person who always smiled. She was a rock for her family, a rock for her friends and most of all a rock for herself.

“Amy always thought of others before herself.

“Amy led the life she was destined to fill, following her passions. Her school will be missing an incredible, dedicated teacher, she gave 110 per cent to her pupils. Her light will always shine in our lives but a hole has been left with broken hearts.

“The whole family would like to send heartfelt thanks for all kind messages and thoughtful tributes. Keep shining our girl, you will forever be in our hearts.”

The second victim was 76-year-old Sandy Seagrave. Her family has said: “She was one of a kind, an eccentric character who was stubbornly independent, feisty, brave and not afraid of anything.

“She was devoted to children and especially animals, including a wild fox who we are continuing to feed now that she has gone.”

Police were called to Hazel Way at 10.20am on Sunday, December 22.

The area was cordoned off as the two women were found dead in the street. A 37-year-old man was seriously injured at the scene and was arrested on suspicion of the murders.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton where he remains on life support in a critical condition.

Detective Chief Inspector Alex Geldart said: “This is a tragic incident which has led to the death of two local women, one of whom was known to the suspect.

“Members of the public, police and paramedics did all they could to help the victims but sadly the two women died at the scene.

“I extend my heartfelt sympathies to their families, who are being supported by specialist trained officers.

“Extensive enquiries are taking place along with a forensic examination.

“This was not a knife attack. A cordon will remain in the area while we gather evidence and we appreciate the support and understanding of local residents.”

Anyone with information can report information via 101, quoting Operation Deanland.