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FIRST PICTURE: Friend speaks of ‘kind hearted’ Rosemary Shearman, found dead in Hornchurch yesterday

PUBLISHED: 13:09 04 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:32 08 September 2013

Rosemary Shearman

Rosemary Shearman

Archant

Grandmother-of-five Rosemary Shearman, named locally as the woman who was found dead in Hornchurch yesterday, has been described by a devastated friend as “kind hearted” and “good as gold”.

Rosemary Shearman (left) with friend Charlotte Murphy, Charlotte's sister Sara and Charlotte's daughter Larrissa in Whitstable Rosemary Shearman (left) with friend Charlotte Murphy, Charlotte's sister Sara and Charlotte's daughter Larrissa in Whitstable

The 77-year-old was found by ambulance staff at her home in Platford Green about 12.25pm. Sadly, they were unable to save her, and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Charlotte Murphy, who runs the Ardleigh House Community Association where Rosemary went every week, described her friend’s death as “absolutely shocking”.

“I had so much time for her,” she said. “She was very kind hearted.

“Her daughter’s family moved to Hong Kong a few years ago.

Police say the alleged attacker and victim 'did not have a relationship' Police say the alleged attacker and victim 'did not have a relationship'

“She used to like coming out with me and my little girl. She had memory problems - she used to write everything down - but she was perfectly fit.

“She was always playing tennis, and she wouldn’t miss Wimbledon for the world. She used to get her tickets every year.

“I can’t believe it’s happened.”

As well as Rosemary’s daughter in Hong Kong, she has a son living in Wales. Rosemary’s husband died a few years ago, and she is thought to have lived alone.

Charlotte said the mother-of-two had been due to set off on a cruise this week.

A 50-year-old man was arrested at the scene yesterday on suspicion of murder. He was taken to hospital suffering from injuries.

It is not thought he knew Rosemary.

“She was a good old girl,” said Charlotte. “I’d known her about four or five years but over the last year she’s become really close to me.

“The last time I saw her was Wednesday night. She would always come up and cuddle you.”

Formal identification has not yet taken place, but Rosemary’s next of kin have been informed.

A post mortem will be scheduled in due course.

Det Chief Insp Noel McHugh, leading the investigation from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “At this early stage there is nothing to suggest a relationship between the man we have arrested and the deceased. It would be wrong, at this point, to speculate any further about motivation. That will form part of our investigation.”

Any witnesses are asked to contact the incident room and on 020 7321 7228 or 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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