Investigation into murder of Freda Walker, 86, probes links to violent break-in

Police are investigating possible links between the murder of an 86-year-old woman in her home in Langwith Junction in Derbyshire and a violent burglary at the home of an elderly couple in Nottinghamshire.

Freda Walker died in what Derbyshire Police described as a "horrific" attack on Saturday. Her husband, Ken, 88, was critically injured. Detectives have yet to make an arrest.

But today they revealed they are looking into whether it happened during a burglary – and are investigating potential links with an incident 27 miles away in Trowell, Nottinghamshire.

  • Assistant Chief Constable Dave Kirby updates the media

Giving an update on Monday afternoon, Assistant Chief Constable Dave Kirby said: "There are several lines of enquiry being followed and one of those is that this may have been a burglary, but of course we are keeping an open mind."

Police found the couple seriously injured after being called to their home at Langwith Junction, near Mansfied, by paramedics at 9.30am on Saturday, 15 January.

They said a "serious level of violence" had been used in the attack but have yet to confirm how Mrs Walker died.

Officers say there is not believed to be any "ongoing threat" to the public, but are continuing to advise people to keep windows and doors locked.

An image of the scene posted on social media by Derbyshire Police

Possible link?

Derbyshire Police declined to rule out a link between the attack on Mr and Mrs Walker and an incident in Trowell, Nottinghamshire, in the early hours of 6 January.

In that incident, a burglar broke into the house of a couple in their 80s in Stoney Lane and demanded money.

The woman suffered cuts to her head, severe swelling to her arm and a possible broken jaw.

Her husband sustained injuries to his face, arms and body.

Assistant Chief Constable Kirby said: "We are of course looking at any incidents that might be linked to this tragic incident and looking at how we can tie those investigations together. However, at this time we have not formally linked any other incidents."

Community stalwarts

Ken Walker was previously chairman of Bolsover District Council and a serving Shirebrook Town councillor. Last month he was made an honorary Alderman for his services.

Bolsover Council leader Steve Fritchley said the incident had "sent shockwaves" through the community.

"We have heard many people say, 'Ken and Freda, what a lovely couple' and they really were. This has sent shockwaves through the local community."

He said Mr Walker was an "example to all" and Mrs Walker was "lovely".

He added: "Just when they should both be enjoying their twilight years together, this terrible incident has happened and our thoughts are with Ken and his family."