A murder investigation has been launched after an 89-year-old widow was battered to death in her home.

The victim, who has not been named, was pronounced dead after being found on Sunday morning.

Paramedics had called police at around 10.45am yesterday to a home in Waltheof Gardens.

Detectives believe one or more intruders got in at some point between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

They say the pensioner, who is understood to have lost her husband earlier this year, had "clearly been assaulted."

Enquiries are ongoing to establish any motive. Officers haven’t ruled out burglary as a motive, but they retain an open mind at this early stage. There has been no arrest.

Reports of a suspected "friend or family member" with blood-stained clothes near the scene are being investigated.

Detective Chief Inspector Garry Moncrieff, of the Met's Specialist Crime unit, said: "The woman had clearly been assaulted and, as such, a murder investigation has been launched.

"I want to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious in and around Waltheof Gardens and the surrounding area on Saturday night or Sunday morning.

"In addition, somebody locally may be aware of a friend or family member who they saw with blood stains on their clothing, or whose behaviour caused them particular concern on Saturday night or Sunday morning. If so, I need to hear from them."

DCI Moncrieff said burglary is one possible motive, but officers are retaining an "open mind" at this stage.

Next of kin have been informed. A post-mortem and formal identification are due to be scheduled.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting CAD 3149/04aug.

To remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.