Family's plea after cottage murder


The family of a retired teacher who was murdered at her isolated riverside cottage have appealed for information to help catch her killer.

In a statement issued by West Mercia Police, the son and daughter of Betty Yates paid tribute to the 77-year-old, who was found stabbed near Bewdley, Worcestershire, as a "lovely character" who was highly popular in the local area.

Describing their mother as a "true lady", the widow's son, David, and daughter, Hazel, said: "We do not understand why or how anybody could have done this and we would urge anyone who has any idea about who is responsible or has any information at all to come forward and tell the police."

Mrs Yates, who was a member of local walking and book clubs, was found at her substantial detached cottage off Dowles Road on Wednesday morning after concerns for her welfare were raised by a friend.

The retired school teacher, who taught in the Wyre Forest area, had lived at the property, which overlooks the River Severn, for more than 30 years.

In their statement, Mrs Yates's children said: "Our mother was a vivacious, independent and popular person.

"She had a lovely character and was extremely caring. She was also very fit and active for her age.

"Naturally we are extremely shocked and saddened at the manner of her death and at this time we do not know whether we will ever come to terms with that.

"Thankfully we were able to spend some quality time together when we all got together over Christmas and those are now our final, treasured memories.

"We will always remember her with love and affection - as well as being our mother she was a true lady."

Forensic teams are still conducting inquiries at the cottage, named Riverscroft, which lies at the end of track running along the western bank of the Severn.

Mrs Yates had lived at the house alone for the past seven years following the death of her husband, who was a director of a company based in Pensnett, near Dudley, West Midlands.

The victim, who is also survived by her elder sister, Joan, was well known in the wider area and took part in activities organised by the Wyre Forest University of the Third Age.

She also hosted book readings at her home and was a member of a local art group and Bewdley Civic Society.

More than 40 police officers and staff are working on the murder inquiry, based at a Major Incident Room set up at Stourport police station.

A police cordon remains in place to prevent access from Dowles Road to the track leading to the secluded cottage and two other riverside properties.

In a statement issued yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, who is leading the murder investigation, said: "Our thoughts are with Mrs Yates's family at this sad time for them.

"Mrs Yates was subjected to a violent attack and we are determined to catch the person or people responsible."

Police search teams spent yesterday combing grassland near Riverscroft and a knife recovered at the scene is being forensically examined.

Appealing for witnesses and information, Mr Jamieson said: "The cottage is in a secluded spot near the riverside and in an area popular with anglers and walkers.

"If you were near there between lunchtime on Monday and around 9am on Wednesday, then please get in touch.

"We also need to know if you saw anyone else there or anything suspicious, including any vehicles in unusual circumstances."

The officer added: "Mrs Yates was very active locally and had many friends.

"As part of our investigation, we are trying to build up a detailed picture of her and her lifestyle and we therefore want to hear from anyone who saw or talked to her in the weeks leading up to her death.

"The smallest detail could be important to our investigation so if you know anything at all, then please get in touch without delay."

Anyone with information should call the Major Incident Room at Stourport police station on 0300 333 3000 or contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they wish to remain anonymous.


Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before