13/03/2012 11:13 GMT | Updated 13/03/2012 11:14 GMT

Leanne McNuff Tributes As Afghanistan Soldier Held Over Mother's Death

The family of a young mother who was stabbed to death said today she was a "beautiful, kind-hearted and generous girl".

Leanne McNuff, 24, was found by police on Sunday night with serious injuries and died a short time later.

Serving soldier Ian Lowe, 24, from the 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, is being questioned on suspicion of murder, sources said.

In a statement released by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), Leanne's parents Margaret and James said: "Leanne was a beautiful, kind-hearted and generous girl, who lived and breathed for her four-year-old son Jaden, who in turn idolised and adored his mummy.

"Leanne had a great sense of humour, with lovely manners, and was loved by everyone who knew her."

A policeman outside the scene

Police said they were called to Mellor Street in Droylsden, Greater Manchester, at about 7.45pm on Sunday by the ambulance service following reports a woman had been assaulted.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "Officers attended and found 24-year-old Leanne McNuff had been seriously injured. She was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later."

A post-mortem examination concluded she died from multiple stab wounds.

A 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder and remained in police custody for questioning, police said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "We can confirm that on March 11, a serving soldier from 1 Lancs was arrested on suspicion of murder."

He added: "The matter is subject to an ongoing civil police investigation and it would be inappropriate to comment further whilst this is ongoing."

It is understood that the soldier was not on leave from Afghanistan.

Detective Inspector Graham Brock, from the Major Incident Team, said: "Our thoughts are with Leanne's family and friends at this time, who are understandably distraught that their loved one has been taken from them in this way.

"We are in the early stages of the investigation and are working to establish the full circumstances of what has happened.

"I would like to reassure residents that we do not believe there is any danger to the wider community, as we believe this is an isolated incident. We would urge anyone who may have seen or heard anything to contact us."

The arrested soldier is from the same unit as Sergeant Nigel Coupe, 33, who died along with five other soldiers last week when a Taliban roadside bomb destroyed their Warrior armoured vehicle in Helmand province, Afghanistan.