Tyne & Wear

Hammer used in murder of Hexham pensioner Judith Richardson

Judith Richardson
Image caption Judith Richardson had suffered a "brutal attack"

Detectives investigating the murder of a Northumberland pensioner have found a hammer they believe was used to batter her to death.

The hammer was found in a carrier bag during searches of St Wilfrid's Road in Hexham, where the 77-year-old lived.

Miss Richardson's body was found in her home on Friday, after suffering what police said was a "brutal attack."

A man in his 80s and a woman in her 70s have been arrested and bailed in connection with the murder inquiry.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said the hammer had been sent for forensic testing.

The force released images of a hammer similar to the one recovered from the crime scene and an image of the Aldi bag it was found in.

Det Ch Insp Paul Young, who is leading the murder investigation, said: "We have recovered a hammer which we believe at this time may have been the weapon used to cause the head injuries that killed Miss Richardson.

Image caption A replica of the hammer police found near Miss Richardson's home

"It was discovered in an Aldi carrier bag on Saint Wilfrid's Road and we are keen to establish how it got there.

"Anyone who may have witnessed anyone acting suspiciously with a white Aldi carrier bag around the St Wilfrid's Road area of Hexham since Friday evening is asked to contact police."

Police discovered Miss Richardson after a member of the public found her handbag dumped in a waste bin in Newcastle city centre.

Posters appealing for witnesses are being displayed in Hexham and Newcastle.

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