Police investigating a vicious break-in which saw an elderly mayor’s wife killed and her husband left fighting for his life are examining a nearby house raid which also saw another couple in their 80s attacked.
Freda Walker, 86, was found dead in her home along with her 88-year-old husband Kenneth by a neighbour on Saturday morning.
Ambulance crews dashed to Langwith Junction, Derbyshire, after a neighbour raised the alarm at 9.30am and paramedics called police who launched a murder investigation.
The manhunt for her killer is still ongoing but friends suggested someone she may have helped could have turned against them.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that police are looking into a possible connection between the attack and another in nearby Trowell, Nottinghamshire.
On that occasion, an elderly couple were left battered and bruised after an intruder stormed into their house while they were asleep and demanded money.
Shocked residents paid tribute to Mrs Walker, describing her as a ‘generous person with a warm spirit’ who was known for her charity work.
One neighbour said: ‘Freda was the most generous person you could ever meet and had such a kind and warm spirit.
‘The couple didn’t have any children and I think helping others was her way of being a mother to those who were less fortunate.
‘She worked with homeless charities and just wanted people to have a chance to make a life for themselves.
‘The community here are in real shock. It’s so sad and an awful thing to happen to two pillars of their community.’
Floral tributes have also been left outside the couple’s home as the community struggles to come to terms with the murder.
A card on a bunch of flowers read: ‘To the best friend anyone could ever have had in their lives.
‘I shall miss you so much, I can’t believe this happened to the nicest person on this earth.’
Another card said: ‘To a lovely lady who would help anyone she could without hesitating. She will be missed.’
Mr Walker sits on Shirebrook Town Council, representing the Shirebrook Langwith Ward and is a retired mining safety inspector who celebrated his 88th birthday on Thursday.
Last month, Mr Walker, who is also the former mayor of Bolsover, was awarded an honorary status for his service to Bolsover District Council.
Freda and her husband. Tributes called her ‘the best friend anyone could ever have had’
Forensic scene of crime officers secure evidence at the scene as they worked today
Criminals were being hunted today as the culprit was on the loose after the murder
Police have launched a murder investigation after an 88-year-old woman was killed and her husband, 88, suffered life-threatening injuries at their village home
Derbyshire Police said a ‘serious level of violence’ was used in the incident but no arrests have yet been made
Speaking at the murder scene, Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnett said Mr and Mrs Walker were ‘well known’ in the local area. Pictured: flowers left outside the house
The couple were today described as ‘lovely people’ who were ‘well known’ in the local area.
Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher said his ‘thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time’.
Derbyshire Police launched a murder investigation, saying a ‘serious level of violence’ was used in the incident but no arrests have yet been made.
Police say the family of the couple have been made aware and are being supported by specialist officers.
Speaking at the murder scene, Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnett said: ‘This couple were well known here. I know that many people who knew them were shocked by this horrific incident.
‘I want to appeal to anybody who has any information in relation to this incident to come forward as a matter of urgency.
‘I must confirm that no arrests have been made in this case and this is not a domestic incident.
‘There was also a serious level of violence used in the incident and we are doing all we can to understand the circumstances and find those responsible.
‘If you were in the area on the 14th of January through to the 15th, please contact police officers as we especially want to find anybody who may have any dashcam footage and anybody in the area that has CCTV.
‘We have got officers from our major crime unit, which is a regional team, who are working hard and working with a number of lines of enquiry, all in the effort to try and identify who is responsible for this horrific incident and to bring them to justice.’
Chf Supt Barnett confirmed Mr Walker suffered ‘horrific injuries and is in a critical condition in hospital’.
She added: ‘We wish him all the best and I really hope that he has a speedy recovery, he is in the best care at the moment.
‘The family are aware, but I am not sure if the family are by his side at this time.’
Police refused to confirm how Mrs Walker died.
Freda Walker (pictured, left) was found dead at her house in Langwith Junction, Derbyshire, and her husband Kenneth (right) was taken to hospital with ‘life-threatening injuries’
Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher said his ‘thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time’ following the attack
Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnett said Mr Walker had suffered horrific injuries and was in a critical condition in hospital
Neighbours have today been leaving flowers outside the house where Mr and Mrs Walker lived
Chf Supt Barnett said: ‘While I cannot talk about the mechanics of how the injuries happened, what I do urge people to do is to carry out good security in relations to their homes.
‘Keep their doors and windows locked and do not let any strangers in. Don’t keep any valuables on display.
‘And to have a means of making contacting with emergency services if needs be.
‘Investigators are looking at the broadest possible range of scenarios alongside other forces to consider whether or not there are any other offences that might be connected to this.’
Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher described the incident as ‘very serious and sad’, adding: ‘My thoughts are with all those affected and I will continue to work with the authorities over the coming days.’
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Fletcher added: ‘This is an incredibly shocking incident in what is a very strong community.
‘The police are investigating and I was briefed by them earlier today.
‘Whilst it is too early to know what has happened, I know the police share my desire to see those responsible brought to justice.
‘I’m sure I speak on behalf of every resident in Bolsover when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.’
Steve Fritchley, the leader of Bolsover District Council, who has known Mr Walker for 38 years, told MailOnline: ‘I’m saddened and shocked to hear about the attack on him and his wife Freda.
‘They represented the Council as Chair and consort of the Bolsover for some years and were lovely people.
‘Only in the last month Ken, along with other ex local councillors, was awarded Honorary Alderman status for his service to Bolsover District Council.
‘Let us hope that the culprits are found and arrested quickly.’
Residents and friends of the couple expressed shock today.
A dog walker, who passes through Station Road every Sunday morning, was a friend of the couple.
He said: ‘This is very quiet area. I was an acquaintance of Kenneth and Freda. They were very nice people.
‘Kenneth used to be a local councillor heavily involved in the area.
‘A long time ago, he was the Mayor of Bolsover or Chesterfield I think, one of the two.
‘They were always a nice couple and ready to speak to you. I spoke to Mrs Walker regularly as I walk the dog through here – more so in the summer.
‘Yesterday, I had been fishing all day and came home and heard what had happened and my partner told me that there had been an attack in their house.
‘Then I found out Ken is critical in hospital. It is horrible to hear.
‘I just knew them as an inviting and lovely couple. I always used to wave at them as I walked by.’
A neighbour said: ‘Ken and Freda were devoted to each other. This has shocked everyone who knew them.’
Another resident said: ‘We are totally shocked. We didn’t hear a thing – nothing.
‘We didn’t know them, we’ve only just moved to the area ourselves. We didn’t even know their names.
‘It is a really quiet area – odd bit of trouble, especially with living on the main road. But nothing like this. Really sad.’
A neighbour, two doors down from the couple, said: ‘I knew of their names because this a close-knit area – everybody knows everybody.
‘It is shocking and upsetting. I have lived on this street for 53 years. It has been a lovely area to live. It is really sad.
‘You would see Kenneth and Freda now and again but that was it. This is just shocking.’
Assistant Chief Constable, Dave Kirby of Derbyshire Police gives a press conference appealing to the public for help with their murder investigation
Forensic officers have been at the crime scene throughout today and police said ‘investigators are looking at the broadest possible range of scenarios’
Police outside the house in Station Road, Langwith Junction, Derbyshire, where the elderly woman was found dead and her husband seriously injured
Assistant Chief Constable, Dave Kirby of Derbyshire Police holds a photo of Ken Walker and Freda Walker during a press conference appealing to the public for help with their murder investigation
A resident who lived on the neighbouring estate of Primrose Way, said: ‘The police came to visit me this morning, as they have done with all the neighbours in the estate, just to see if I had heard anything.
‘I’ve heard it was a some sort of break-in or burglary there, I didn’t know them – never seen them.
‘I heard this morning that it was an elderly couple and the lady had died. The gentleman is in intensive care.
‘The police are not revealing much information to use either. We’re looking for updates.
‘It is just shocking – you don’t expect to hear something like this happen in a quiet residential estate.’
Police have cordoned off the couple’s home which backs onto several allotments. An alleyway by the side of the house has also been sealed off.
Pictures from the scene show a number of police vehicles, and forensics officers in attendance.
The area is popular with young families due to being close to Brookfield Primary School and Langwith Bassett Junior Academy.
Assistant Chief Constable David Kirby said: ‘Freda and Kenneth were very well known in the Langwith Junction area – and there has been an understandable outpouring of grief following Freda’s death.
‘My thoughts are with her family and friends – and with the wider community who are understandably shocked by the news.
‘Our thoughts are also with Kenneth at this time, who remains in a critical condition in hospital.
‘A significant level of violence was used in this incident and, while we cannot go into specifics of the offence at this time, this is not being investigated as a domestic incident.
‘Again, I understand that this will come as a shock for the community and there will be understandable concern.
‘There is an increased police presence in the area, and high visibility patrols will continue in the coming days. I would urge anyone with concerns to speak to officers on patrol or contact the force directly.
‘Finally I would urge anyone with information, in particular any drivers with dashcam footage or homeowners with CCTV that covers the period of time between 5pm on Friday 14 January and 9am on Saturday 15 January to contact the force as a matter of urgency.’
Anyone who may be able to help detectives with their enquiries is asked to contact Derbyshire police using the reference 240-150122.
Source: Daily Mail