THE family of a West Lothian hairdresser who was stabbed to death in a brutal attack have paid tribute to a “truly incredible lady, grandmother and mother”.
Katrina O’Hara, 44, who was originally from Bathgate, was knifed twice as she closed up Jocks Barbers where she worked in Blandford, Dorset, on Thursday evening.
The mum-of-three died in a pool of blood despite the desperate attempts of neighbours and passers-by to revive her.
Eldest son Kyle Stark, 25, left flowers at the scene over the weekend, complete with a poignant message describing his mum as his “rock”.
It read: “I love you more than anything in this world. You were my rock. The world has lost a truly incredible lady, grandmother and mother. You will always be with me.”
Witnesses said Ms O’Hara’s attacker had chased a male colleague from the barber shop before going back and stabbing the grandmother with a long-bladed knife.
A woman who works nearby described hearing “piercing screams”.
A 49-year-old man has since been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains under police arrest in hospital with a wrist injury.
After issuing a public appeal, Dorset Police said they had recovered a knife which may have been used in the attack. Officers previously said the alleged attacker and victim were known to each other.
Ms O’Hara’s three children Kyle, 25, Dean, 23, and Morgan, 16, are being supported by specially trained police officers.
Dean, a butcher who lives in Blandford, posted a picture of his mum on Facebook with the comment: “Love you mum”. Friends said they were in “complete shock” over the incident.
Ms O’Hara left Bathgate after divorcing her first husband, Ross Stark, in 1995. After remarrying that same year, she lived in the village of Okeford Fitzpaine, seven miles from Blandford.
Close friend Jackie Livingstone, who worked with the grandmother for five years and owns another salon nearby, said: “She was an amazing mother and an amazing grandmother.
“I have never met a funnier woman in my life and anybody would say the same. She was the kindest woman and would always go beyond the call of duty for people.
“She was unique. She will be missed and you will see that at her funeral. She was Scottish. She came from Bathgate and was very proud of it. Katrina loved her job, she loved people and went out of her way for people. She had the heart of a goddess.”
Detective Inspector Richard Dixey, of Dorset Police’s major crime investigation team, said: “I would like to thank the public, in particular the local residents in Blandford, for their assistance, support and co-operation during this ordeal. Many witnesses have come forward with information and we have been able to locate a potential weapon - a knife - near to the scene of the incident.
“Family liaison officers have updated Miss O’Hara’s family with these developments and our thoughts are with them at this tragic and most difficult time.”
The case has been referred to watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) as Dorset Police had “recent prior contact with people involved in this incident”.