Public rushed to aid of elderly woman found stabbed to death

Bystanders rushed to the aid of an elderly woman who was killed in a knife attack in Exeter on Saturday afternoon, police have said.

Officers were called to Ludwell Valley Park in the Wonford area of the city at around 4pm on Saturday following reports that a woman had been badly assaulted with a knife.

Emergency services and members of the public came to her aid but she died at the scene.

The identity of the 74-year-old victim, who was local to the area, has not been confirmed.

Exeter park attack
(PA Graphics)

Her family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.

On Saturday evening, police launched a manhunt for a suspect who was seen on CCTV outside Wonford Sports Centre in the city at 3.17pm.

An off-duty police officer then spotted him on the city’s High Street on Saturday.

The 30-year-old suspect, from the Exmouth area, was detained by armed officers outside the Yorkshire Building Society on the High Street at around 9.30pm.

He was arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in custody.

Police do not know the motive for the attack at this stage but said they do not think the victim and suspect were known to each other. They are not looking for anyone else.

On Sunday, police said they may have found a knife used in the attack as they sought to reassure the public the attack was an “isolated” one.

Chief Superintendent Dan Evans from Devon and Cornwall Police said: “I would like to reassure people that this is an isolated incident but there will be a heightened police presence in the city over the next few days.

“We are still searching the Wonford area as part of our investigation, we believe we may have located the knife believed to have been used in the attack and are retrieving this as we speak.

“Whilst we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this offence, it is vital that anyone with any information contacts us immediately.

“Whilst this type of incident is very rare, Wonford is a very close community and I know this death will be felt deeply by all who live in the area.

“My thoughts are with the family and loved ones of the victim at this tragic time.

“We will be supporting them over the coming days and weeks with specially trained officers.”

The force is appealing for the public to report information including relevant CCTV, doorbell and dashcam footage to a new Major Incident Public Reporting (MIPP) page.

Detective Sergeant Darren Campbell, from the Major Crime Team, said: “We have received a huge amount of information from the public in relation to this crime, but there are still large parts of the day that we need to account for, both pre and post the attack.

“We are asking for anyone who has CCTV, doorbell, phone footage or dashcam of the area that could be of interest to the investigative team, to please submit this via the MIPP.

“You can also report any information you may have in relation to this murder, not solely footage.”

People can report information to Devon and Cornwall Police via the MIPP site under Operation Finnart.