A £10,000 reward has been offered in the hunt for the callous killer of a widowed pensioner found brutally murdered in her isolated cottage home.
The money is being offered by the charity Crimestoppers as the detective leading the murder hunt confirmed that 80 year-old Jenny Methven had been battered to death and the victim of a violent attack with a “blunt instrument.”
Mrs Methven was found slumped at her kitchen table with a blood-stained towel over her head on 20 February, by her son, David.
She was discovered at Kildinny Farm in the cottage they shared on the outskirts of the Perthshire village of Forteviot.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Gall, who is heading the 70 strong investigation team from Tayside Police, said the force would be extending its search area around the cottage where Mrs Methven was killed in a bid to trace the murder weapon.
He said the violence of the assault had horrified members of the local community in which Mrs Methven was a popular member, regularly seen walking her spaniel dog and wearing a high visibility jacket.
Said DCI Gall: ‘‘This was a brutal attack which led to the death of an elderly woman in her own home. Understandably, the public response has been one of horror and revulsion. But people, within the local community in particular, have demonstrated a real determination to assist our efforts in finding the person responsible.”
He continued: “Thanks in no small part to the public response and the support of the media, we are building a very accurate picture of the comings and goings in Forteviot and the wider Strathearn valley on 20 February. This is assisting our investigation greatly.
‘‘Today, we are extending our search efforts in and around the village with the aim of locating further information and, potentially, the murder weapon.
‘‘Police search advisors have joined our search trained officers with a view to locating any evidence that could assist us. We are looking for the weapon that was used to kill Mrs Methven. We know that it is a blunt object rather than any sharp or bladed instrument.”
He added: “’To this end we would ask people, perhaps if they are out and about walking the dog, cycling or exercising to look out for anything that might be out of place. It’s possible they might even spot something that appears bloodstained. If they have any suspicions whatsoever, they should call us.’’
He made his appeal for fresh information after Kate Jackson, the Scottish manager of Crimestoppers, announced that the charity was offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers responsible for what she described as a “despicable” murder.
Ms Jackson said: “Due to the despicable actions of someone, this elderly lady has suffered a violent and unpleasant death which has left her family and friends grieving. Someone will have information about who is responsible. Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information on this crime that leads to an arrest and conviction so that it can be solved and bring the victim’s family some form of peace.”
Tayside Police have already revealed that Mrs Methven cut short a phone call on the day she murdered after hearing a vehicle pull into her drive at Kildinny Cottage. Two unidentified vehicles - possibly vans - were later seen parked “nose to tail” the driveway.
DCI Gall also revealed yesterday that Mrs Methven was seen out walking her spaniel dog near to her home, just prior to 9am on the day she died. She was wearing her normal high visibility jacket and carrying what appeared to be a black bin bag.
He added: “The enquiry team also wants to trace two vans that were seen about 500-yards east of Mrs Methven’s cottage. This is described locally as the ‘bad bend’ on the Forteviot road travelling from Forgandenny. This sighting was at about 10.15am.
“A van of unspecified colour was stopped on the roadside. It had LDV written on its right side near to the bottom. Another vehicle, white in colour, was travelling in the opposite direction at the time. It had Draincure written on it and it caused a witness to pull over to allow it to pass.”