A SCHOOL has paid a moving tribute to a ‘dedicated’ teacher who died after an attack in Crawley Down.

Amy Appleton, 32, was found dead outside a property close to her home in Hazel Way, along with Sandy Seagrave, 76, of Kiln Road, on Sunday, December 22.

Amy taught Year 5 pupils at Copthorne CE Junior School, where she had worked for more than eight years.

In a statement, the school’s headteacher Joanna Francis said: “Amy was one of our most loved and respected teachers who was dedicated to giving the best education to all her pupils.

“Her passion and enthusiasm, sense of fun and cheerful nature has made a huge impact on our entire school community but especially on the children at Copthorne CE Junior school and those who she taught during her time here.

“Amy will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with Amy and her family at this terrible time.”

A Book of Condolence remains open at St John’s Church, in Copthorne village and the church has its doors open during daylight hours for people to pay their respects.

The school’s statement follows tributes paid by family members.


A 37-year-old man, found seriously injured at the scene, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder.

He was taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton, where, police say, he remains but his condition continues to improve.

Inquests into the deaths of the two women were opened at Centenary House in Crawley on Tuesday.

Senior Coroner Penelope Schofield was told that post-mortem examinations at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill of Ms Seagrave and Ms Appleton showed cause of death as “head injury”.

Sussex Police has said it was not a knife attack and one of the victims was known to the suspect.

Ms Seagrave’s family also paid tribute to her, saying: “She was one of a kind, an eccentric character who was stubbornly independent, feisty, brave and not afraid of anything.”

In respect of each victim, coroner Mrs Schofield said: “I am satisfied that she has died an unnatural death and therefore the matter needs to proceed to inquest.”

The inquests were adjourned until April 28 2020 to allow the police investigation to continue.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said: “I extend my deepest sympathies to the victims’ families, who continue to be supported by specialist trained officers.


“I would ask that people respect their privacy at this distressing time.”

Police continue to investigate the incident and say if anyone has any information they can report it online or call 101, quoting Operation Deanland.

Alternatively, they can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.