Hereford & Worcester

Betty Yates murder: 'Devastated' family appeals for help

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Media captionMrs Yates's daughter Hazel Costello and son David Yates asked for information

The daughter of murdered Worcestershire pensioner Betty Yates has said the family is "devastated" by her death.

The 77-year-old retired teacher was found stabbed to death at her cottage near Bewdley on 4 January.

Daughter Hazel Costello said it was possible their mother knew who killed her and "this only makes things worse".

She said it was "even more difficult to bear" that it happened in her own home where Mrs Yates had been "so happy".

Mrs Costello told a media conference: "Our mum and dad searched for many years to find this spot and then built their dream, not just in bricks and mortar.

"Our father Ray died almost seven years ago and there was never a possibility in our minds that mum would want to leave the cottage. She was so happy there, it is a truly beautiful place filled with shared family memories."

Mrs Yates' son David, who appeared at the media conference alongside Mrs Costello, said their mother had been at the "heart of the community in Bewdley".

Image caption Police believe Betty Yates was killed on the evening of 2 January

He said since their father's death, their mother had "busied herself because she missed him".

"We know from all the cards we have had how much she was loved and will be missed," Mr Yates, 51, said.

He added: "We are at a loss to understand why somebody could do this and what we really need is some kind of explanation."

Mrs Costello, 53, said: "We are completely bewildered as to who would carry out such a savage attack on our mother."

Appealing for information, she asked anyone who knew anything to come forward.

"Please think about how we are hurting and tell the police what you know," she said.

Det Ch Insp Neil Jamieson, who is leading the investigation, said it was vital that anyone who had visited Mrs Yates' cottage between 28 December and 2 January contacted detectives.

"Knowing who else has been at the cottage other than Mrs Yates, even if someone just popped in for a moment, could prevent officers wasting time and resources that could be focused on other parts of the investigation," he said.

He said the police still want to speak to the authors of two anonymous letters they were sent earlier in January.

Detectives are also still trying to find a man who was spotted close to the scene on the night Mrs Yates was killed.

A driver reported seeing a man in his 20s wearing a thigh-length dark-coloured jacket at about 20:30 GMT on 2 January.

Det Ch Insp Jamieson said: "We have yet to speak to that individual, however we have had other people come and speak to us who were in the area at the time."

Crimestoppers has offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the killer.

Mrs Yates had been beaten with her walking stick and stabbed in the neck.

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