Date: 1 Apr 2017
Eileen Blane was beaten during a burglary at her home in Castleton Avenue on 3 February 2017 and died two months later from her injuries on 1 April 2017.
A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder in 2018 but was later released without charge.
Eileen Blane had been punched and kicked and dragged across the floor at her home and threatened with a knife after opening the door to someone that she thought was the window cleaner. However, she managed to escape and run off to a neighbour’s house.
Her assailant left taking a £20 ring and £30 in cash. She said that when the man forced his way into her home that he pushed her against her kitchen hob and demanded money and gold and told her that she wouldn’t get out of the house alive. However, she said that when the man went upstairs for her cash and jewellery that she picked up her dog and ran out of the house.
It was noted that the ring that was stolen was her treasured wedding ring given to her by her husband who died 14 years earlier in 2003.
After the attack she had declined to go to the hospital, saying that she felt alright, but she was taken to hospital four days later where it was determined that the attack had broken her ribs damaged her spine and caused severe bruising to her face. Whilst in her hospital bed it was noted that she said to her sons, 'There are two main reasons I want this man to be caught. One is he could do this to someone else. The other is that one day he’ll kill someone'.
When she later recounted the attack on her, she said, 'He started chucking me about you see, I couldn’t get up. I asked him to stop but he wouldn’t. He was quite nasty. He just wouldn’t stop hitting me that was the main thing. He just said ‘where are you going?’ all the time. He saw we weren’t going to get out, you see, he was going to make sure we wouldn’t. It was a nightmare'.
It was also said that the man had drop-kicked Eileen Blane's jack russell dog after it had attempted to protect her.
She described the man that attacked her as being white, about 5ft 8in tall, with a slim build and wearing a dark blue hooded coat.
Eileen Blane had been in the hospital for eight weeks and died the day following her discharge. A pathologist that carried out her post mortem said that he was able to link her death to the injuries that she had sustained in the attack.
The police later said that they thought that someone in the community was protecting the man.
Eileen Blane was seen earlier in the day at her local Co-op store between 11.30am and 12.05pm and was next seen walking home with her shopping trolley and wearing a distinctive pink coat.
It was noted that after she was released from hospital that she went home again to try to recover and started to do exercises so that she would be able to walk up and down her stairs again and it was thought that she was doing well. However, she died there the following day as a result of her injuries on 1 April 2017.
It was noted that on one occasion when her son had gone to see her after she had just woken up that she had told him 'I could see that man'.
She was found dead by her son who had gone to see her on the day after she returned home. He said 'I ran over to her I could see clearly she wasn’t with us any more, I phoned for help, they said ‘you need to see if you can get her going again’. I was pushing her chest up and down, he was explaining what I needed to do. Paramedics came and they were doing it. I could see it had gone too far. They pronounced her dead. They told me at 10.35am. That moment was horrific'.
An e-fit of the man that attacked Eileen Blane was later released along with some CCTV footage.
The police investigation into Eileen Blane's murder was called Operation Crown.
The police said that they thought that the man that murdered Eileen Blane had been a desperate opportunist who had been looking for money to buy drugs or to pay off debts.
The police later released the descriptions of the sightings of three men that they wanted to trace stating that they had all been seen nearby acting suspiciously.
The police said, 'It is possible that all these men are the same person, but I have to keep an open mind and at this moment in time I am treating them as three different people who I need to eliminate from my inquiry. If he knows who he is, he needs to present himself to police'.