Killer urged to 'search conscience'
The killer of a much-loved 77-year-old woman who was battered in her own home has been urged by a senior officer to examine his conscience and hand himself in.
When police arrived at Judith Richardson's home in Hexham, Northumberland, with her handbag that had been dumped 25 miles away in Newcastle, they believed they were dealing with a simple case of lost property or theft.
Instead, they found her dead in the hallway of her stone-built terraced house in sought-after St Wilfrid's Road on the edge of the town centre.
Detectives have spent the weekend seeking out CCTV images from public and private cameras to find out how the handbag came to be in a bin in Clayton Street, Newcastle. It was discovered on Friday afternoon and police arrived at her home at 6.45pm to make the grim find which sparked a murder hunt.
Superintendent Frank Gallop, speaking outside Hexham police station, said: "I think the person responsible has to search their conscience. They have to think carefully about what they have done and the consequences of their actions.
"The death of a 77-year-old woman has had a devastating impact not only on the community but on her family. I would ask them to come forward and hand themselves in."
Police have urged the public for information about anything suspicious on public transport between Hexham and Newcastle, as well as quizzing taxi drivers about possible fares between the two.
Meanwhile, tributes were paid to the unmarried victim, who lived alone. Her family released a statement which said: "This has been a devastating loss and we are all in a state of shock. Judith was a wonderful person and we all loved her dearly.
"We hope that anyone who can will help police with their inquiries. We thank everyone for their condolences and ask that others can respect the privacy of our family at this extremely difficult time."
Anyone with any information can contact police on 03456 043 043 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.