Woman’s murder: arrest made

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Detectives have made an arrest following the death of a 60 year old woman in Helmshore, Rossendale.Sadie Hartley

The woman, who is still to be formally identified but is believed to be Sadie Hartley, was found with a number of knife wounds at her home address on Sunny Bank Road on the evening of Friday 15 January.

A post mortem examination carried out on Saturday evening confirmed the cause of death as multiple stab wounds.

A 34 year-old woman from Chester has been arrested on suspicion of murder and currently remains in police custody.

A scene still remains in place at the house and detectives continue to carry out a number of enquiries.

Developments in CCTV enquiries have identified a vehicle and a number of people that officers would like to trace.

Sadie is last known to have made contact with a work colleague at around 7-30pm on Thursday January 14th but was not heard from since. At around 8pm on that night an old style Renault Clio car is seen on CCTV driving into Sunny Bank Road and driving off around a minute later.

Officers want to trace this car.

Around the same time a man is seen walking out of the cul-de-sac and in the general direction of the village store and Holcombe Road. We need to trace this man as he may have vital information about what happened to Sadie.

This man is seen to pass another person walking in the opposite direction into the cul-de-sac. We need to speak to these people as soon as possible.

A few moments later a jogger is seen on the footage. They are seen running up into the cul-de-sac and away from Holcombe Road.

House to house visits also continue today as well as searches of the area around the house and forensic examination inside. Additional neighbourhood officers are also on patrol in the area.

Det. Supt Paul Withers of the Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT) said: “We are making steady progress with this complex investigation with an arrest being made overnight.

“I would continue to urge anyone with information who has not yet come forward to do so as soon as possible to help us build up a clear picture of Sadie’s final movements and any suspicious activity in the area.

“We now know there was a Renault Clio car and at least three people all on Sunny Bank Road at around 8pm on Thursday. We believe that this could be around the time that she was murdered and we want to trace these people as soon as possible.

“We also know that this area is regularly used by dog walkers so we are keen to speak to anyone who frequently uses the route along Sunny Bank Road and may have seen anything out of the ordinary in the days and weeks preceding the murder.

“Any information you have could be important for our investigation and finding out exactly what happened to Sadie. Call us on 101 quoting incident reference 1481 of January 15th.”

Alternatively anyone with information can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org