An 85-year-old woman has been found dead at her home by a handyman after suffering what police called a "cowardly assault".
Scotland Yard have launched a murder investigation after the pensioner was discovered at her home in Ashmour Gardens, Romford, east London, at around 11.30am on Tuesday.
The woman's next of kin have been informed and a post-mortem examination is expected to take place on Thursday.
Officers are yet to make any arrests.
Detective Inspector Paul Considine, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "This is a despicable incident in which the victim, an elderly lady who lived alone, had been subjected to a cowardly assault that left her with serious injuries.
"She was discovered by a handyman working at the address.
"We suspect the incident to have occurred between 7.30am and 11.30am on 15 May.
"I want to ask anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious to call police immediately. Did you hear anyone in distress or notice someone in the area who may have looked out of place?
"Even a fragment of information is beneficial to our investigation.
"It is imperative that we find those responsible for this horrendous offence."