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Cheryl Hooper: Tributes paid to mother shot dead outside her Newport home as fund set up for her daughter tops £1,000

By Mat Growcott | Newport | Crime | Published:

Tributes have been paid to “kind-hearted, gentle” mother Cheryl Hooper who was killed outside her home in Newport.

Police at Farmers Gate in Newport. Inset: Cheryl Hooper.

It came as the inquest into her death was opened today and a crowdfunding page set up to raise money for her daughter topped £1,000.

Dozens of people came out to sign books of remembrance in memory of the 51-year-old, who died after being shot in Farmers Gate in the town on Friday.

Churches around the borough have since opened their doors to mourners wanting a quiet place to remember their friend.

Police at Farmers Gate

A 45-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of murder remains in hospital under police guard. He is currently receiving medical treatment for gunshot wounds.

The inquest opening at Shirehall in Shrewsbury today heard police were called at 11.13pm to Farmers Gate where they found Mrs Hooper's body. She was confirmed dead by paramedics.

Her body was identified by her father, Anthony Gabriel.

The inquest was adjourned to May 10.

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The community both in Newport and further afield have come together to pay their respects to Cheryl, who was the practice manager at Lawley Dental Practice in Telford.

Dozens of people have signed books of remembrance in Cheryl’s name and a crowdfunding page has been set up by her colleagues to raise money for her daughter.

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Among churches offering a place was St Andrews Church in Church Aston. Reverend Zoe Heming said that there had been a steady trickle of family, friends and well-wishers lighting candles.

“People have told me that she was kind-hearted, gentle and most loving,” Reverend Heming said.

“Residents have rallied around really quickly. They have come and cried. Shropshire people are pretty friendly.

Vicar of St Andrew's Church, Zoe Heming, with a book where people can write down their thoughts and feelings over the tragedy

“The kinds of people who come here are people with connections to her that you never hear about, some of them who have travelled to get here. It’s people who knew the family and wanted to do something.

“People want to do something and don’t know what to do. They are anonymously lighting candles. I rarely go over there and there aren’t candles lit.”

Reverend Heming said she wanted to open the church as a community hub, where people could remember Cheryl and quietly mourn.

“I had no idea whether anybody would come or not, but there has been a steady trickle of people.

“There is no making sense of something like this. the church is here as a place for people to come and deal with all the emotions of human life, and especially when we can’t make sense of something. It’s somewhere to just go and be, and as a community hub that’s helpful. Police have found it useful to have as a base.”

Police at Farmers Gate

The JustGiving page set up by Cheryl's colleagues aims to raise £30,000 to support her daughter. By this afternoon it was approaching £1,000.

It says: "Cheryl was a beautiful person inside and out, always smiling and always ready to help those in need.

"We aim to raise as much as we can for her daughter, who is a credit to her Mum and an incredible girl. We want to help ease the financial worry for her and also Cheryl's parents.

"Cheryl was always so proud of her daughter and anyone that meets her can see why.

"We hope we can help some way towards giving her the future her Mum would have wanted for her.

"We have set an ambitious target and hope to achieve it. .

"If you would prefer to donate in person, you can do so at Lawley Dental Practice."

You can see their page at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/forcheryl

Police at Farmers Gate

Neighbours in Farmers Gate have spoken of the shock that still covers the area.

Many reported hearing gunshots at just after 11pm, and then screams from Cheryl’s daughter.

Reverend Heming said that schools were trying to deal with the fact that such a young child had been so close to the murder.

“I have a child the same age and it is just chilling,” she said.

“It’s a small market town where everybody knows each other. People are talking. It’s always going to be shocking wherever it is, but in a small town you really don’t expect it. Especially when it’s a child that’s so up close and personal.

“The schools have been trying to respond to that, especially since it happened right next to Moorfield Primary School. I’m sure for children it’s disturbing.”

As well as St Andrews, St Michael and All Angels’ Church in Lilleshall is opening its doors to those wishing to mourn or to sign a book of remembrance.

It will be open throughout the week until Friday, between 10.30am and 5pm each day.

Tributes have been left by those who knew Cheryl on social media.

Councillor Peter Scott said she used to babysit for him and his wife.

Police at Farmers Gate

“It’s always tragic to hear of a loss of life at such a young age and in such a shocking manner,” he said.

“She was a lovely girl. It’s hard to believe anyone would ever want to harm her. Our thoughts are with the family.”

Leanne Tomkinson, a user on Facebook, said: “Such a lovely person! Sending lots of love to the family.”

Shirley Walton-Griffiths said: “Cannot take this in. Beautiful lady.”

West Mercia Police said that murder investigation inquiries are ongoing.

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting incident reference 725s of January 26, 2018.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Reporter - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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