A heavily pregnant woman was stabbed to death ‘at random’ by a former mental health patient, it emerged last night.
Claire Wilson, 21, was seven months pregnant with her first child, who also died, when a man plunged a knife into her back as she walked to work in broad daylight.
The killer was described as ‘cool as a cucumber’ after the attack.
Asked by a shocked witness: ‘Why have you just stabbed a young girl like that?’, he ‘shrugged his shoulders’ and made no effort to run away.
Killed: Claire Wilson was stabbed in the back as she walked to work
Heartbreak: Miss Wilson’s distraught boyfriend Adam Kennard pays his tributes at the scene of her murder
Miss Wilson and her boyfriend Adam Kennard became sweethearts at school and had been together for seven years.
They had already named the baby girl they were expecting ‘April’ and had decorated a nursery for her at the home they moved into recently.
A tearful Mr Kennard, 23, said: ‘There’s nothing I can say at the moment. It’s too soon. I don’t know what I’m going to do.’
Mental health services and police are investigating the stabbing after it emerged that the suspect had a history of psychiatric illness.
He was admitted to the Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby last year after making threats to kill and hearing voices. He received three or four weeks of treatment.
Since his release, sources claim he has moved from address to address and has not sought any treatment.
Mr Kennard was overcome by grief yesterday when he visited the scene of the attack in the centre of Grimsby.
He stayed nearly half an hour and left a number of items at the growing shrine to his partner, including a ‘Baby Girl’ balloon.
One card was accompanied by a pair of red baby’s shoes. It read: ‘Baby April. You would have been the most loved baby in the world. Take care of your mum for us.’
Miss Wilson’s mother, Deborah, broke down when she visited the scene and had to be helped away.
The attack took place outside a travel agent’s at 3.50pm on Sunday. Miss Wilson was 200 yards from the Pizza Hut where she worked as a waitress.
Tributes: Friends of the mother-to-be said she was ‘one of the greatest people anyone would want to meet’
Stab victim: Miss Wilson pictured with her boyfriend
A man who had been following her stabbed her in the back once with a 12-inch black-handled knife. There was reportedly no warning, confrontation or provocation.
A local DJ called Rick and another man chased the knifeman after raising the alarm at a nearby pub.
They flagged down a police van waiting in traffic and spoke to the suspect without tackling him shortly before officers arrived to arrest him.
Publican Steve Greasby, who was also quickly on the scene, said: ‘Rick said he had walked down the road as cool as a cucumber as though he hadn’t done anything.’
Mr Greasby added that the knife was still in the victim’s back. ‘There was a lot of blood,’ he added. ‘She wasn’t talking but people were comforting her.’
Mr Kennard and Miss Wilson had spent a couple of years in Italy before returning to take up their life in Grimsby.
Dave Stembridge, 18, a colleague of Miss Wilson, called her ‘one of the greatest people anyone would want to meet’.
Friend Lara Cole, 16, said she ‘put a smile on everyone’s face’ while Richard Legg, 18, described her as ‘a giver rather than a taker’.
Tributes are left at the scene in Grimsby where the young pregnant woman was stabbed to death in a random attack on Sunday afternoon
Miss Wilson, who was seven months pregnant when she died, cuddles a kitten in an image posted on a social networking site
Pregnant with her first child, Miss Wilson had written on her MySpace page that ‘she doesn’t want kids’
Detective Superintendent Christine Kelk, of Humberside Police, emphasised that police believed there was ‘no obvious motive’ or connection between the victim and attacker.
‘We believe this was completely random and we are trying to piece together the information as to why she was targeted.’
Last night Alan McMullan, 53, was charged with murder. He was remanded in custody today to appear at Hull Crown Court on June 16.
The hearing at Grimsby magistrates lasted just two minutes. There was no application for bail.
● The case echoes one in nearby Hull four years ago when pregnant Tina Stevenson, 31, was stabbed in the back by paranoid schizophrenic Benjamin Holiday. He admitted manslaughter and was detained indefinitely at a secure mental hospital. An NHS trust apologised to the family of Miss Stevenson after an independent report criticised his care.
A photograph of Miss Wilson with boyfriend Adam Kennard left on the street where she died in Grimsby