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Last Updated: Friday, 9 September 2005, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
'Savage' murder of widow at home
Elsie Hughes
Elsie Hughes died in hospital following the attack
Detectives are investigating whether the "savage" murder of a 90-year-old widow is linked to a previous distraction burglary at her home.

Elsie Hughes was found with facial injuries at her home in Caergwrle, near Wrexham, at 2100 BST on Thursday.

She died of her injuries early on Friday at Maelor Hospital in Wrexham.

Police confirmed Mrs Hughes was the victim of a distraction burglary last month when her savings were taken by a man and woman.

North Wales Police said this was among a number of lines of inquiries.

A statement was released by her family on Friday in reaction to her death.

Picture of police at the murder scene
A police inquiry is under way at the house

"Elsie was a loving mother and grandmother. She was well liked and respected within the community and had no enemies," said her family.

"She was widowed at an early age and had to bring up a family by herself.

"Even though we are a small family we are all very close. No words can express the shock and sadness that we as a family feel at this time. She will be missed."

In a press conference on Friday, Detective Superintendent Ross Duffield said Mrs Hughes was found in the lounge of her home in Hawarden Road, in the village of Caergwrle, with severe facial injuries.

She was taken to hospital in Wrexham but later died.

A neighbour had checked on Mrs Hughes after hearing a noise and called her daughter and son-in-law who found her fatally injured.

Forensic search

Mr Duffield described the attack as a "savage attack on a defenceless lady".

He said: "This could have been your mother, your grandmother."

He added that Mrs Hughes' family "are devastated by what has taken place".

An incident room has been set up at Wrexham police station and a mobile incident room is in place near Mrs Hughes home.

Forensic officers have searched her house and the front garden of her home.

Picture of forensic scientists at the murder scene
Forensic officers have been searching the scene

House-to-house inquiries are taking place in the area and the North Wales force has appealed for information from members of the public.

A Home Office pathologist is due to carry out a post mortem examination on the body of the murdered woman.

Meanwhile neighbours at the village, a mixture of private and council housing, have said they are shocked and appalled by her death.

Robbie Reilly, who lives two doors down from Mrs Hughes' home, described the scene when he pulled into the drive at his home after working late.

"My wife gave me a call to say there was a commotion outside. As I pulled up I couldn't get round because there were that many police cars on the road.

"I think we're all shocked and worried really. My grandparents only live round there and they're elderly too so the first thing I did was give them a call."

George Roberts, who knew the victim said: "I'm shocked quite honestly. We've known her for years. She was a very friendly sort, bit of a character really in the community.

"I don't think she could get about very well anymore on her legs. It's a bit unnerving really to think it can happen in such a small community."




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