Wednesday 13 November 2019

Man arrested after stab attack which leaves OAP dead and boy (9) fighting for his life

A police officer by Shipley skate park in West Yorkshire where a nine-year-old boy was stabbed yesterday
A police officer by Shipley skate park in West Yorkshire where a nine-year-old boy was stabbed yesterday

Sam Beattie

A 26-year-old man has been arrested over the murder of an 84-year-old woman and the attempted murder of a nine-year-old boy.

The man, who is thought to be related to pensioner Louisa Denby, is being questioned about the stabbing of the boy, who was attacked in a skate park about 300m from the elderly woman's home in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

He is also being quizzed about the murder of Mrs Denby, who suffered numerous stab wounds at her home yesterday.

The boy was airlifted to hospital with chest and arm injuries after emergency services were called to the Carnegie skate park in the Windhill area of Shipley at 4.40pm, West Yorkshire Police said.

A major police operation was launched and, just before midnight, Mrs Denby's body was found in the bedroom of her home in Prospect Mount.

The 26-year-old man was spotted by a member of the public in Westfield Lane, Idle, Bradford, at 4.10am today and detained by officers, a police spokesman said.

He said the injured boy was flown to Leeds General Infirmary by air ambulance and is in a stable condition. He is expected to undergo surgery this morning.

Local city councillor Susan Hinchliffe said the incidents had shocked the community in Windhill.

She told BBC Radio Leeds: "It's very concerning for the community. Obviously, very shocked this morning.

"We're just not used to this kind of thing round here. People just can't take it in, really."

She said the stabbing of the boy had made some parents worried about letting their children out last night.

There was a heavy police presence in Windhill today.

A large area around the skate park, which was recently renovated, was completely sealed off, with a number of officers standing guard around it.

There was also police activity in the street of semi-detached houses where Mrs Denby's body was found.

That scene was also cordoned off, as were a number of other locations in the area.

The police spokesman said another 26-year-old man has also been arrested in connection with the murder.

Three other local men - aged 18, 24 and 29 - have been arrested over the incident in the skate park, he added.]

Local retailer Chandrika Patel, whose shop backs on to the park, said she and her customers were taken aback when they heard how events had unfolded.

She said parents would stop their children playing in the park following the stabbing.

"He's such a good lad," she said. "He's always playing outside and sometimes comes in here.

"Everyone's shocked by it all. It's a friendly area."

David Jacobs, who lives near Mrs Denby, said the "terrifying" incidents of the last 24 hours have left the community "shell-shocked".

"My son said 'Dad, Dad! Someone's been stabbed and an old lady's been murdered.'

"My heart went. You worry straight away.

"I know the little boy because he plays with my son. It's tragic.

"He's a very nice, normal lad who likes to play on his scooter and at the park and play on his bike.

"You can't understand why someone's done that to a little lad like that.

"The police were at school today and we had to go to school with our children today.

"People are scared to let their kids out. They're all going to keep them in tonight.

"You think 'Is it safe any more?'."

Mrs Denby's next-door neighbour, Jackie Smith, paid tribute to the retired teacher today, saying she was a friend and a "lovely lady".

"She was such a good neighbour and she was really respected down this road," she said, clearly shaken as she spoke outside her home.

"She was my husband's school teacher and then, when she moved in, she'd say 'Hiya, Michael, I remember you'. She was absolutely lovely."

Mrs Smith said she grew increasingly worried for the pensioner's well-being as events unfolded late yesterday.

"It all seemed to happen around teatime. There were helicopters but it quietened down for a bit," she recalled.

"Last night I could hear them (police) breaking her door down - I assume because there was nobody answering.

"That's when I really thought Mrs Denby was in trouble and I just felt so sorry for her, I really did.

"I just can't believe it. It's just awful.

"She had loads of respect from people. You couldn't ask for a better neighbour. I'm going to lay some flowers for her now."

Mrs Smith said Mrs Denby had lived at the address for about 23 years, adding: "Her mum lived there before and her mum lived to be 90-something."

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