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Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 14:55 GMT
Hunt for widow's murderer
Murder scene
The murder has shocked the quiet community
Detectives have launched a hunt for the killer of a disabled widow who was subjected to a "cowardly" attack in her home.

A neighbour discovered the body of 77-year-old Isobel Beattie in her house in the village of Cardross, Argyll and Bute, on Tuesday morning.

She was slumped in a chair in her sitting room and appeared to have been bleeding from the mouth.

Isobel Beattie
Isobel Beattie was found slumped in a chair
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Ward, of Strathclyde Police, said: "I would describe this attack as a cowardly one on an innocent and defenceless 77-year-old lady in her home.

"She suffered from severe arthritis, had had a hip replacement and walked with the aid of a walking stick.

"I would appeal for anyone who was in the vicinity of Station Road, Cardross, and in particular around the railway station which is adjacent to the scene of the crime, to come forward."

Mr Ward revealed that police were investigating reports of a number of break-ins in the area, including one at Mrs Beattie's home about five years ago.

Officers have been checking to see if anything has been taken from her house.

Mr Ward refused to give exact details of how Mrs Beattie died, what injuries she sustained or whether her attacker was armed.

'Peaceful place'

Police have found no signs of a break-in at Mrs Beattie's home and Mr Ward said it was possible she had opened the door to her attacker.

He said: "Cardross is a safe and peaceful place to live and that is why a crime such as this has such a terrible impact on the people who live there."

Mrs Beattie's home is beside Cardross railway station and officers planned to interview commuters who may have spotted anything unusual.

The pensioner worshipped at Cardross Parish Church and the death of the popular member of the local community was met with shock.

Detective Inspector Stephen Ward
Stephen Ward: Appealing for witnesses
Argyll and Bute councillor Ronald Kinloch, whose wife Jennifer was a second cousin of Mrs Beattie, said the pensioner had lived in the village for at least 25 years.

He said police had contacted him but had not given him many details of the incident.

Mr Kinloch said: "They confirmed that she had been murdered. We were told that it had been suspicious yesterday."

Wendy Morrell, who owns Cardross Post Office, said: "I really can't believe it. Things like this don't happen in places like this. It's just a complete shock for everyone.

"I've got nothing but good things to say about her."

Neighbour Alan Jenkins said: "She seemed a nice lady. I have been in the village for 15 years and she was just part of the community, part of the furniture of living here."

Asad Ahmad reports
"Neighbours have been shocked by the woman's murder"
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