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.

PA

Suggested Topics
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice