Woman, 88, stabbed to death in London

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The Independent Online

A great grandmother has been beaten and stabbed to death at her home in south London, detectives confirmed yesterday. Officers found a retired secretary, Irene Barrett, with multiple knife wounds and her flat in Charlton ransacked after her carers had raised the alarm.

Last night a 32-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the murder, while a 34-year-old man remained in custody after being arrested on suspicion pf murder earlier in the day.

Mrs Barrett, 88, had a son, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

She had lived alone at the flat for the past 20 years. Speaking at the crime scene today, Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons said: "Irene was a well liked and well known member of the community. She was an active member of the residents' association. Her family are devastated at what has happened. Her flat was ransacked and some of her property was stolen, including jewellery and cash."

A 34-year-old man remains in custody after being arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday. Neighbours spoke of their shock at her death. Claire Pickett, 30, said: "I just do not understand how anyone could do this.

"She was such a lovely lady. She used to knit blankets for premature babies and animals at Battersea Dogs Home.

"She even made a blanket for my baby when it was born. She was like a grandmother for all the young children here."

John Moore, 57, added: "There's a huge amount of shock and disgust on the estate. Everyone knew her as such a cheerful and pleasant person. It's a callous attack by cowards."