Husband arrested in postmistress murder probe

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The Independent Online

The husband of a postmistress who died from severe head injuries was arrested in connection with her murder today.

Robin Garbutt, 44, was being questioned by detectives in connection with the death of his 40-year-old wife, Diana, sources said.

Her body was found in the upstairs living quarters of Melsonby Post Office, North Yorkshire, on March 23.

North Yorkshire Police said a man had been arrested in connection with the murder and suspected robbery of the post office.

A spokesman said: "The 44-year-old man, who is from the Richmondshire area, was taken into custody this morning, where he will be interviewed by detectives."

Detective Superintendent Lewis Raw, senior investigating officer, said: "The tragic death of Diana Garbutt three weeks ago has had a significant impact on people living in Melsonby and Richmondshire as a whole.

"It has also captured the concern and sympathy of the wider community due to the high level of media coverage of this case.

"I would again like to offer my sincere gratitude for the overwhelming support and understanding local people have given the police throughout this very complex investigation."

Mrs Garbutt was found dead upstairs in the small Melsonby store - called The Village Shop and Post Office - just after 8.30am.

Police launched a murder investigation and issued a description of a robber they said "broke into the post office and stole a substantial amount of cash".

The store, which the Garbutts had run for around seven years, was targeted by armed robbers in March last year, when two men, one armed with what appeared to be a handgun, threatened staff and made off with stamps and a large amount of cash.

Villagers said the couple moved to Melsonby from the York area and had been married for about the same time. They do not have children.

Mrs Garbutt is thought to have had a military background.

Following her daughter's death, Mrs Garbutt's mother, Agnes Gaylor, made an emotional appeal for information.

She said the last few years in Melsonby had been the happiest of her daughter's life.

"She was content, she loved her life. She didn't deserve to be taken like this. Nobody does. But she, of all people, did not deserve to be taken this way," she said.