Manchester

Eileen Blane: Fresh appeal over Stretford grandmother's murder

Woman murder suspects Image copyright GMP
Image caption Greater Manchester Police has released CCTV images and an e-fit of two suspects

Police investigating the unsolved murder of an 87-year-old woman who was repeatedly beaten during a burglary have released images of two suspects.

Eileen Blane was thrown to the floor and had her wedding ring taken from her finger during the raid in Stretford, Greater Manchester, in February 2017.

She spent eight weeks in hospital and died the day after she was discharged.

Greater Manchester Police has made a fresh appeal for information on the first anniversary of her death.

The force has released CCTV images and an e-fit of two men officers are searching for, while a £50,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to a conviction.

A third man, not pictured, is also thought to have been involved.

Image copyright GMP
Image caption Eileen Blane suffered three cracked ribs, a damaged vertebrae and severe bruising

Det Insp John Mulvihill said: "I implore anyone who recognises these men to get in touch, or if you believe this is you please contact us immediately. It is vital these three men are eliminated from our inquiries.

"Even the smallest piece of information could be crucial."

Det Insp Mulvihill said there had been three "key sightings" of three men throughout the day Mrs Blane was attacked.

They were seen in Chatsworth Road, a short walk from the victim's home, in the Co-Op store on Barton Road and on Castleton Avenue.

The suspects are described as white and aged in their 20s, and wearing dark-hooded clothing at the time.

Image copyright Blane family
Image caption Eileen Blane, seen here with her late husband, had worn her gold wedding ring for 63 years
Image copyright Family photograph
Image caption Mrs Blane pictured on her wedding day

Mrs Blane's son, John Blane, previously told the BBC's Crimewatch Roadshow how his mother had answered a knock at the back door, thinking it was the window cleaner.

The suspect pushed into the house and punched Mrs Blane in the face.

During an interview, she told police: "He just wouldn't stop hitting me. I just asked him to stop but he wouldn't. He said he wanted gold. It was just a nightmare."

While the attacker searched upstairs, Mrs Blane managed to escape and alerted her neighbours, who called the police.

She suffered three cracked ribs, a damaged vertebrae and severe bruising.

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