Family of mum found stabbed pay tribute as ‘boyfriend’ charged with murder

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A mum-of-two who was found stabbed has been pictured as her family release a heartbreaking tribute saying she was “spiritual, spontaneous and a free spirit”.

Police have identified the woman who died in Thatcham, Berkshire, on Thursday April 1 as Emma McArthur, aged 43.

Former Army medic Christopher Minards appeared before a judge accused of killing Emma, who he met through Facebook in 2019.

A court heard the pair had been a couple.

Thames Valley Police said formal identification had now taken place as they released the following tribute on behalf of Emma’s family: “Darling Emma,

“Spiritual, spontaneous and a free spirit – with a love of mother nature especially animals and the outdoors.

“You had a thirst for learning, new skills and could turn your hand to most things.

“Practical – you have never shied away from life’s challenges, caring, thoughtful and always saw the best in everyone.

“A mother who always put her children before herself and whose love touched all those who were blessed with being able to call her a friend.

“Definitely unique and a one off. How empty our lives will be without you.

“Spread your wings and follow your dreams.

“Loving mother, daughter and friend.”

Christopher Minards, 35, of Thatcham, has been charged with with murder and possession of a bladed article in a public place.

He appeared at Reading Magistrates Court on Monday, April 5, and made a short appearance at Reading Crown Court on Tuesday, April 6.

Prosecuting counsel Elisabeth Acker said: “The defendant Christopher Minards is charged most significantly with the murder of his some-time partner Emma McArthur.

“She was pronounced dead in the early hours of April 2.

“He is also charged with having a bladed article – a knife.

“Christopher Minards and Emma McArthur were a couple, he had formerly lived in Devon and Cornwall. He appears to have moved here to be with her.”

Emma was last seen alive on Thursday at 9pm. The prosecuting counsel added: “She later was found to have five stab wounds to her neck, chest and back.

“An ambulance attended the scene and at 12.47am on April 2, she was pronounced dead.”

Addressing the defendant, Judge Norton said: “You are remanded in custody to await trial on November 8.”