Friend of Alexis Durant who was found dead in Loughborough flat speaks of grief
A close friend of suspected murder victim Alexis Mary Durant says she is struggling to come to terms with the death of her "wonderful" pal.
Manda Martin said Ms Durant was like her "mum, friend and sister all rolled into one".
Police are keeping a round-the-clock watch at the bedside of a man suspected of murdering mum-of-two Ms Durant, whose body was found inside her Loughborough flat last month.
Inspector Johnny Monks, commander of Loughborough police, said the 30-year-old man was in a critical condition in a coma in the intensive care unit of an unnamed hospital.
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"We need to talk to this man about what happened in that flat in Gallico Close on Wednesday, February 20," said Insp Monks. "At the moment, we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident."
A murder investigation was launched after the body of 42-year-old Ms Durant was found in her top-floor flat. Police said a post-mortem examination had been carried out, but would not give any information about the cause of death.
Mrs Martin, 27, told the Mercury: "I can't believe this has happened to Alexis. She was a wonderful woman and did not deserve to be taken from the world like this.
"When my father-in-law told me I could not believe it.
"I had to go to her flat and be told by her neighbour that it was true. I broke down on the spot. Part of me still refuses to believe it."
Mrs Martin, of Loughborough, said she recently asked Ms Durant to be godmother to her three-year-old daughter, Casey. She first met Ms Durant, whom she calls Lexi, shortly after she moved into the Gallico Close block of flats.
Mrs Martin, who now lives elsewhere, said: "We first met at a party and we got on like house on fire. She was good to me when I did not have any friends in the block. Lexi was like my mum, my friend and my sister all rolled into one."
Mrs Martin said Ms Durant stayed at her house the weekend before she died. "We had a great time," said Mrs Martin. "We always did. My kids loved her and are still asking where Auntie Lexi is. I told them she was now in heaven and was a star in the sky."
An inquest has been opened and adjourned at Loughborough Coroner's Court.
Insp Monks said he wanted to speak to anyone who "saw or heard anything they thought was unusual, different or strange" in the Gallico Close area between Monday, February 18, and Wednesday, February 20.
"What we do need to do is to speak to witnesses who may have heard or seen something which could help us piece together the events," he said.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Leicestershire Police on 101.