We won’t give up on justice for mum

Jayne Watson, daughter of murder victim Nora Tait. Picture: Marie Caley D1475MC
Jayne Watson, daughter of murder victim Nora Tait. Picture: Marie Caley D1475MC

The family of a Doncaster grandmother murdered seven years ago are refusing to give up hope her murder will still be solved.

An unlawful killing verdict was recorded at yesterday’s inquest into the death of 69-year-old widow Nora Tait.

And Doncaster Coroner Nicola Mundy said she hoped fresh information might still bring the killer to justice.

South Yorkshire Police detectives have vowed to continue their hunt for the man who attacked and killed Mrs Tait with a blunt instrument in her own home in October 2005.

Nine suspects have been arrested in the inquiry but none has been charged, on the advice of a QC, due to insufficient evidence.

Mrs Tait’s daughter, Jayne Watson, thanked The Star for its extensive coverage of the case since 2005 and said: “This is the verdict we were expecting.

“We just hope something might come of it and some extra information is provided to the police.”

The inquest had been adjourned to yesterday to hear evidence from two further witnesses – Mrs Tait’s best friend, Pamela Haigh, and her son, Leslie Mills.

Mr Mills discovered the body at her terraced house in Stone Close Avenue, Hexthorpe, on October 13.

He had phoned Mrs Tait the previous day and got no answer, so called round at about 10am because he thought his mother might be there.

“I knocked on the door and there was no answer,” he told the court. “I tried the handle and it was unlocked. I found her and phoned the ambulance and my mother to tell her what happened.”

The previous hearing was told Mrs Tait had suffered several blunt force blows to her head, and broken bones in her right hand showed she had put up a fight before she died from brain injuries in the dining room.

It is believed Mrs Tait was killed around lunchtime the day before she was found, because the fish and chip lunch she had bought on her way home from town was uneaten.

Giving her verdict, Ms Mundy said there was no evidence to suggest anyone held grievances against Mrs Tait.

The coroner said she thought Mrs Tait ‘wasn’t entirely meticulous as to the locking of doors’ and added: “I am satisfied there had been times when the door would be unlocked.”

She added: “This quite clearly was a very brutal attack on an elderly and vulnerable lady.

“I hope this inquest might just prompt someone with information to come to the police, so the person responsible can be brought to justice.

“The criminal investigation remains open and the police remain committed to identifying the perpetrator of this crime.”

Detectives have never traced a man known locally as ‘Knock-Off Lad’ who frequently visited Mrs Tait’s house offering to sell bacon, tea and coffee believed to be stolen.

Mrs Haigh said her friend always refused to buy from him, and told him not to come again.