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18 January 2012, 10:11
A £5,000 reward has been put up to find the handbag stolen from a Shaw woman who died fighting off her attackers.
Nellie Geraghty, 79, was found in the alleyway leading from Elizabeth Grove to Kershaw Street shortly before midday on Thursday 24 November 2011.
Her handbag, which contained the ashes of her husband Frank, was missing. The strap was still in Nellie's hand.
She was taken to Royal Oldham Hospital with serious head injuries but died the following day.
Shortly after the incident, a member of the public told the police he wanted to help the investigation in the form of a reward.
Despite a number of inquiries, the handbag and ashes that were inside it have still not been found and the man understands that their recovery is vital to both the investigation and to Nellie's family.
The investigation has also led detectives to believe that there were a number of witnesses in the area who may have seen the offender shortly before or after he came across Nellie.
Detective Chief Inspector Joanne Rawlinson said: "The man who has kindly agreed to offer a reward was, like many members of the public, shocked by this appalling tragedy.
"He fully understands that the family are desperate for those ashes to be returned, and their recovery would also uncover vital lines of inquiry for our investigation.
"We believe there are people out there who have considered giving information about the handbag but have been hesitant for whatever reason.
"We would like to reassure them that we have a team of highly trained detectives who they can speak to and their information will be treated in the strictest of confidence.
"While many people have spoken to us and helped us piece together an understanding of the events leading to the attack on Nellie, we are also appealing today for a number of vital witnesses to speak to us.
"If you happen to be any of the witnesses described, we need to speak to you. You may not have thought that you could have given information to help this investigation, but what you saw may have been very significant."