Finishing off my fireplace...

In my front room I have a large open fireplace (5ft high, 4ft wide, 3ft deep). I have built the base of the fireplace up about 1foot off the floor, and I'm now about to finish it off with a tiled base using slate tiles, but I have a couple questions first...
1. How to fill in behind the raised bit? I thought of filling as much of it in with rubble and old bricks as possible, putting down a layer of compacted sand to even it up, then laying a couple inches of cement to provide a solid base upon which I will lay the tiles. Does this sound OK? What sort of sand/cement mix would be best suited?
2. I'm going to need a tile cutter. For this job alone I could probably get away with a score and snap type of cutter, but I'm also planning on tiling the bathroom soon so though I'd invest in an electric one (christmas pressie to myself). Is the 30 from screwfix any good? B&Q do a similarly priced one made by PlasPlugs iirc, what about that one?
BTW, the fireplace will never actually have a real fire in it, but will most likely have some form of wood burning stove at some point in the future.
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The Screwfit cutter I bought works a treat.
Mark S.
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