Murdered Wigan beautician's salon legacy destroyed by freak accident

Plans to help a murdered Wigan beautician’s business dreams live on lie in ruins today.

Saturday, 19th June 2021, 4:55 am

Melissa Belshaw was brutally killed by her ex last year, just weeks before she was due to open her first salon in the town centre.

Since her killer and former partner Andrew Wadsworth was jailed for a minimum 32 years in December, business partners, friends and family of the 32-year-old Billinge mum had been hoping that the Lash Rooms on Hallgate could still be launched.

After all, it was virtually complete, staff having been hired and the premises fitted out, when tragedy struck.

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The ruined Lash Rooms on Hallgate

It was also hoped that eventually the business would be handed over to Melissa’s 14-year-old daughter - who witnessed the murder - when she turns 18.

But in a new and unimaginably cruel twist of fate, the premises have been wrecked beyond repair by flooding from the floor above followed by looting of surviving equipment, and backers have now been forced to pull the plug.

Melissa’s mum Jean Mulvaney said today that it was “heartbreaking” that this legacy would now not be realised.

She added: “Melissa had a silent business partner who had got her the shop and set the ball rolling; he was keen to keep everything going at the salon and that this should happen is a tragedy in itself.

The late Melissa Belshaw with mum Jean Mulvaney

“I’ve been told that someone sub-let the flat above and there was some kind of water leak. I think it must have been a pipe burst because a hell of a lot of water came down, bringing the ceiling with it and blowing the electrics.

“Melessa rang me to say she was going to put her heart and soul into the salon just three days before she died so I didn’t have chance to ask much about it. But she was turning a corner in her life and I was very proud of her. There were also plans for a second one in Liverpool. It’s heartbreaking that none of this will now happen - even without her.”

A statement from the Lash Rooms read: “After a long process it’s not possible to open the Lash Rooms which is a cause of great sadness.

“This is due to the upstairs flat causing so much damage to the shop which is now a mess. It’s of great sadness that it won’t open as this was Melissa’s dream and I was going to give the business to her daughter. People have been asking when the shop will open but, after a lot of thought, it has been decided that the damage is too great for it to happen.

The Lash Rooms were all but fitted out when Melissa was killed last year

“The plan moving forward is to have a charity event in Melissa’s name for domestic abuse.”

A family friend said that people had also got into the shop and helped themselves to some of the surviving equipment.

Former cage fighter Wadsworth, 37, stabbed Melissa to death two months after he came out of prison on licence while consumed by an obsession about her sex life.

Fuelled by cocaine and alcohol, Wadsworth subjected her to a prolonged attack in her bedroom with a large kitchen knife on the afternoon of May 20, 2020.

Murderer Andrew Wadsworth will be of pension age before he is even eligible for parole

A passer-by bravely rescued Melissa’s terrified daughter by smashing into the locked house with a hammer.

After killing his ex, Wadsworth then went out on to the street armed with the same knife and repeatedly stabbed a concerned neighbour who heard the screams coming from the property in Up Holland Road.

He then delivered a roundhouse kick to the head of a police constable at the scene where he was arrested and then later punched another officer in the face in a police cell, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Wadsworth admitted stabbing Ms Belshaw but relied on a partial defence to murder of a loss of control following what he claimed was a string of shock revelations about her sex life.

Sentencing him to life imprisonment, Mrs Justice Yip said: “At trial, you painted a very negative picture of Ms Belshaw as you set out to shift responsibility away from you and to blame her for what happened. Some of the things you claimed were demonstrably false.

“Your character assassination undoubtedly went beyond anything that was justified. You had degraded her in life and you continued to do so after her death.

Police at the murder scene on Up Holland Road last year

“She may have made some mistakes in her life but at the time of her death she was pursuing her dream of having her own beauty salon. She was still only young and was seeking to turn her life around. Sadly, she made a fatal mistake in becoming involved with you and you took her future away.”

Wadsworth, of Cranfield Road, Hawkley Hall, was found guilty by a jury of murder and attempted murder, and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two assaults on police officers.

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