MURDER cops investigating the brutal murder of a pensioner in her own home have launched a probe into any unsolved crimes that could be linked to her death.
Elderly Freda Walker, 86, was found dead inside her home of 50 years while her husband Kenneth, 88, remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Officers are looking at any offences going back “years” that might help them to find the “lovely” couples attacker after the violent incident in Langwith Junction, Derbys on Saturday morning.
Derbyshire Police confirmed that they are keeping an “open mind” about whether the attack was linked to a violent burglary in Trowell, Notts – just 40 minutes away.
An elderly woman suffered a broken jaw and severe swelling to her arm after being attacked by the suspect who demanded money from them on January 6 just after midnight.
Detectives are also looking at a number of similar incidents which have taken place in the “months, years or weeks” leading up to the attack.
It is understood that officers are probing whether a violent gang have been targeting the elderly in the area for a significant period of time.
No arrests have been made and residents in the villager have been warned to keep their doors and windows locked while the killer remains on the run.
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Kenneth, a retired miner and former chairman of Bolsover District Council, has been in and out of conciousness and remains in hospital in a critical condition.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Kirby, of Derbyshire Police, branded the murder "an act of horrendous cowardice" as he re-appealed for help from the public.
He said: "Ken remains in a critical condition in hospital. Our thoughts are with him and friends and family and we wish him all the best but he is still in a critical condition.
"We are following a number of significant lines of enquiry, lots of work to do and we have a huge amount of dedicated resources deployed.
"There will be somebody out there in the community who will know something that might help us.
"That might be something they have seen that was out of the ordinary or a piece of information they think might be useful.
"It might seem tiny and insignificant but quite often those little pieces of information are what can take an investigation in a different direction.
"My appeal very strongly is that if anybody has any information of that type please, without hesitation, come to us.
"We can treat that information in confidence and please do that as a matter of urgency. Our investigation will find out who is responsible but we want to do that as quickly as we can.
"Ultimately, somebody is responsible for this terrible tragedy, an act of horrendous cowardice, and they are currently loose.
"They are currently out in the community. I'm not suggesting that people are now in danger or under attack but I am saying we need to get hold of those people straight away.
"Nowadays there are so many cameras around, public and privately owned, and there is a lot of work going into what is on those cameras and analysing that.
"There are also a number of enquiries which are a bit more sensitive, I wouldn't chose to talk about.
"But we are looking at a number of similar offences that may have happened months, years or weeks beforehand and looking to see if we can draw similarities and bring the investigations together ultimately to solve all of those crimes.
"The incident in Trowell is being led by Notts Police, the two investigation teams are working closely together to ensure all information is shared.
"At the moment we are not formally linking those albeit some of the way the crimes took place are similar.
"It is tragic this could happen to anybody but doubly so that Ken and Freda are, and were, a real backbone here.
"They have done so much work for the good of other people and that's what their lives were about.
"So for this to happen to a couple like that, who have given so much, is doubly tragic."
ACC Kirby added that he couldn't rule out the attack being targeted, but confirmed there was nothing to suggest it was related to his work as a councillor.
The couple have been described as “lovely people” who were “well known” in the local area.
Kenneth, a retired mining safety inspector, had celebrated his 88th birthday the week prior to the brutal assault.
Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher has paid tribute to the former Bolsover mayor and his wife, saying his “thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time”.
Tributes have flooded in from heartbroken neighbours in the "tight-knit" community.
Flowers have already been placed outside the couple's home, with one touching note reading: "To a lovely lady who would help anyone she could."
One local resident said: "Ken and Freda were devoted to each other. This has shocked everyone who knew them."
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