Further tributes paid to 'larger than life' Gorleston murder victim
- Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk
A woman strangled to death at her Gorleston home before a house fire was a larger than life character who used to deliver newspapers across the estate, it has emerged.
Police were called just before 9.10am on Friday (June 11) to assist firefighters following reports of a fire at an address in Cherwell Way, Gorleston.
A woman, aged in her 60s, was found inside the property but she was declared deceased at the scene.
But a murder probe has been launched after a post-mortem examination found the woman, provisionally identified as Linda Hood, 68, died as a result of compression of the neck.
Beverley Hunter, from nearby Brasenose Avenue, had known Linda for about four or five years.
She said: "She was a lovely lady. “She wouldn’t hurt a fly and would help anyone out - she would give her last pound if she could.
“She didn’t hurt anyone. She was a good neighbour and friend and she will be sorely missed.
“Everyone on the estate is devastated about how she died - it’s a tragic death.
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“Someone told me what happened. I was just stunned. It’s terrible.”
The 57-year-old said Linda delivered newspapers in the area and and was “a hard worker”.
She said she got up at about 6am and “carried on until she was finished” before getting home, having a rest and then doing it all over again.
“She delivered all around the Magdalen estate. She enjoyed that and did it in all weathers. Megan O’Connor, a supervisor at McColl’s on Magdalen Way, where Linda delivered papers from, said: “Whenever you saw her she would be larger than life with a smile on her face always.
“She never once complained about delivering the papers whatever the weather she was out in.
“One morning we had three paper deliverers off but she said ‘I will do them’.”
Heather Roberts, a sales assistant at the store, said: “She was a lovely lady.
“She always said hello to me. She was lovely, she really was - it’s a shame.
“I wish I knew her more.”
A 60-year-old man, who did not want to be named but lived near to Linda, said: “She was unbelievable.
“One thing you can say about her is that she wasn’t lazy. I’ve got to give her her dues, she was not a lazy person.”
He added: “She kept herself to herself.
“We’re all stunned by the news. I was gobsmacked - all of us were.
“She never did anyone any wrong. It’s a shame what happened to her.
“I just hope they get the person who did it.
”As previously reported, people living in the area have spoken of their terrible shock after finding out what had happened.
Floral tributes have been left close to the taped off property where the victim lived.
On Monday (June 14) forensic scenes of crime officers could be seen in the garden of the property where the victim lived.
The property remains cordoned off while police continue their investigations.
Detectives from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team have confirmed they are treating her death as murder.
DCI Phill Gray said: "The investigation is in its very early stages and detectives continue to establish the exact circumstances leading up to this tragic incident.
"We know Linda was well known within the community and we are continuing to support her family and friends.
"We know this incident will have caused a lot of concern in the local community, however, we have a team of dedicated detectives working on this case and officers will remain in the area over the coming days.
"We encourage members of the public to speak with them about any concerns they may have."
Police are keen to speak to anyone who was in the Cherwell Way area on Thursday, June 10, and Friday, June 11, before the fire, or who may know something that could help.
A public portal has also been set up to encourage witnesses or anyone with information to come forward at mipp.police.uk/operation/363720N69-PO1.
Alternatively, call DCI Phill Gray on 101, quoting Operation Osgood, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.