UPDATED: Relative held on suspicion of murder of 77-year-old woman near Ambleside (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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UPDATED: Relative held on suspicion of murder of 77-year-old woman near Ambleside
POLICE have launched a murder investigation following the death of a 77-year-old grandmother and former vet at Outgate near Ambleside.
Officers said they were called to the remote hamlet late on Tuesday following reports of an assault.
A man aged 48, who is related to the victim, was in police custody last night (Wednesday) on suspicion of murder while detectives continued with their enquiries.
Police said he was arrested at 12:41am on Wednesday after searches of the area using dogs and a police helicopter. He was detained nearby.
Officers were called to Old Farm at 10pm after receiving reports from paramedics that a woman had been assaulted.
Despite efforts by the ambulance service to resuscitate her, she died at the scene.
Detective Chief Inspector Bob Qazi said that up to 10 people lived at the premises. He confirmed they were all members of the same family.
“We will be speaking to 10 people who are potential witnesses and are not appealing for any further witnesses at this time," he said.
"At the moment we are not looking for anybody else in connection with the investigation. We are prioritising interviewing the suspect and also providing support to the family, who are suffering great trauma and tragedy at this time and our hearts go out to them.”
He said a post mortem examination was to be carried out today (Thurs).
The victim was named locally as Jane Archbold who came from Hawkshead. Friends said Mrs Archbold worked as a vet at a surgery on Old Lake Road, in Ambleside, before retiring.
Police conducted door-to-door inquiries at homes near Old Farm, where it is understood Mrs Archbold lived with her son Adam.
Friend Judith Myers of Hawkshead said: “I have known Jane for a long time; she was a founding member of Hawkshead Trefoil Guild and a Brown Owl with 1st Hawkshead Brownies.
“She was a lovely potter and artist, she made all sorts of lovely things and drawings. She was a regular at Brantwood Winter Craft Fair.
“She was a lovely woman, kind and really keen on animals. She loved horses and did a lot of riding.”
Friend Joan Deavin, from Hawkshead, said she was ‘utterly shocked’ to hear what had happened.
She said: “She was a really nice lady; quite feisty, not a little shrinking old lady. She was a delight, full of life and very creative. She helped out a lot with the brownies.”
Farmer Shaun Taylforth, of Head Farm, Outgate, said he had known the Archbolds for a number of years.
"Jane was an amazing vet. She wasn't scared of any beast no matter how big," he said. "It's always sad when anything like this happens in any town but this is a very close knit community."
A shop assistant at Oxfam in Ambleside said she had taken her dogs and cats to Mrs Archbold for years.
"She was a nice lady and a very good vet," said the woman, who did not want to be named. "I once took an injured wild deer to her and she saw to it without charging us."
A neighbour, who also asked not to be named, said she had heard a lot of noise on the night but did not know what happened.
"One of my friends called me up this morning to make sure I was okay. I was very shocked to hear the news. I've lived here for 40 years and nothing like this has happened."
Det Chief Insp Qazi said: "It is very rare for somewhere like Outgate to have people killed in their homes. That doesn’t make it any less of a tragedy."