England

County Durham grandmother killed by Tunisian lover

Pauline Richardson
Image caption Pauline Richardson was a regular visitor to Tunisia

A County Durham grandmother was murdered by her Tunisian boyfriend on the last night of her holiday in North Africa, an inquest has heard.

Pauline Richardson, 64, from Bishop Auckland, was found strangled in Port Al Kantaoui in June, 2008.

Qabeel Jabir Al-Wardini, believed to be in his 20s, confessed to premeditated murder and was jailed for life.

A verdict of unlawful killing was recorded at Chester-le-Street Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Mrs Richardson, a widow, was a regular visitor to the country and at the time of her death was on holiday with friends.

The alarm was raised when she failed to turn up for a flight home, and her body was then discovered. She had been strangled and hit over the head.

Coroner Andrew Tweddle said: "It looked as if she had been the victim of what can only be described as an assault and a murder."

He said she "had some form of relationship" with Al-Wardini.

Detective Constable Dave Ripley, of Durham Police, said that it had been difficult establishing the progress of the criminal case.

He told the inquest: "Even today I have been in touch with colleagues from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and we are still waiting for written confirmation from Tunisia on sentencing.

"However, I have spoken to the solicitor representing the family of the deceased who has an agent out there and it is this agent who passed me the information that a guilty verdict was passed on this defendant.

"He received life imprisonment."

Mr Tweddle recorded a verdict of unlawful killing and apologised to Mrs Richardson's family for the length of time the inquest had taken to complete.

After her murder, daughter Beverley Sains said: "She was just so full of life and we are at a complete loss as to why this should have happened."

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