Page last updated at 16:08 GMT, Sunday, 14 June 2009 17:08 UK

Gardener sought in murder inquiry

Joan Charlton
Police believe Mrs Charlton's property had been burgled

Detectives investigating the murder of an 85-year-old at her home in Hull want to speak to a man who was known to work on her garden.

Joan Charlton died from head injuries as a result of a "sustained and brutal attack". Police said every bone in her face had been broken.

Her body was found at her home on West Parade on Thursday afternoon after a call from a member of the public.

Detectives said there were signs of a break-in and it had been ransacked.

Police said they wanted to trace a man in his 40s who had tended her garden.

'Brutal attack'

He is believed to have parked his flat-back vehicle at the front of the victim's property.

Senior investigating officer Det Supt Dena Fleming said: "Joan died from a sustained and brutal attack.

"She's died from head injuries but every bone in her face has been fractured.

"This was a violent attack of an elderly lady in her own home, where you would expect to feel safe and be safe."

The detective added: "Forensic examinations are continuing at the property and investigations are on-going to establish the movements of Joan Charlton prior to her death.

"It is is not clear at this time how long Joan had been dead prior to her body being discovered."

Police said the exact time or date the man was seen tending the widow's garden was not known.

A spokesman added: "We need to track down anyone who has had contact with her, and one person we know who did was this man.

"At some point he has been seen around the house.

"All we want to do is speak to him and find out when he last saw her."

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