CCTV clues sought to pensioner’s murder

POLICE trying to return a handbag found in a city centre to its rightful owner discovered a murdered pensioner at her home.

Judith Richardson, 77, was found on Friday evening in the hall of her terraced house in Hexham, Northumberland. She had suffered a head injury. The results of a post-mortem examination should be known later.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Young said Ms Richardson’s handbag and some of its contents had been found earlier on Friday in Clayton Street, Newcastle.

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He added: “The fact that the bag was found suggests the motive could be robbery or burglary.”

Ms Richardson, who was not married and lived alone, was regularly seen in Hexham walking her dog. Police believed she may have been seen yesterday morning out with her pet.

The detective sought to reassure elderly people in Hexham that there would be a strong police presence in the area.

He said: “We want to reassure the community that this appears to be an isolated incident and we do have visible officers on the beat in and around the Hexham area.”

He added: “We are working tirelessly to establish the exact circumstances and find those responsible.”

Local people appeared shocked at the news of Ms Richardson’s death, with one saying: “She was a lovely lady.”

Police are understood to be examining closed circuit television images of Hexham and Newcastle in a bid to catch those responsible.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 03456 043043 extension 69191 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.