A SECOND weapon used to attack Betty Yates has been recovered by police forensic teams.

It is believed that 77-year-old Mrs Yates was struck several times with a walking stick belonging to her before she was stabbed to death with a knife at her cottage Riverscroft, off Dowles Road. The stick is now being examined along with other items.

Police also revealed the cottage was locked when Mrs Yates was found dead on the morning of Wednesday, January 4.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Jamieson, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: “It is possible that the cottage was locked up by the killer or killers when they left using keys Mrs Yates normally carried with her.

“These were on a fob attached to a black, pencil case-size purse which we have not yet found. Finding this would be significant and I would urge anyone who may have found or seen them in the area to let us know immediately.”

He repeated the appeal for witnesses, especially those who were walking on or near the riverside on the afternoon of Bank Holiday Monday, 2 January, when she was last seen alive, after new video footage had been discovered.

“We have obtained fresh video footage taken near the riverside on Bank Holiday Monday and we know that there were a number of people out walking there. It is vital that they come forward and speak to us if they have not already done so.

“They might not think they have seen anything relevant but it is still important that we talk to them as we seek to establish Mrs Yates’s final movements and who else was in that area.”

“Mrs Yates was the victim of a sustained and violent attack and we will use all the resources at our disposal to being whoever is responsible to justice. We are still following up the many lines of inquiry generated by our own inquiries and information from the public that has come in following our appeals.”

At the time of going to press, the cordon around Mrs Yates’s cottage remained in place as search teams continued to hunt for clues.

Anyone with information is asked to call the major incident room at Stourport police station on 03003 333000 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.