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10 December 2011, 08:25
Police have arrested a man in connection with the death of a widow whose handbag containing her husband's ashes was stolen by muggers in Greater Manchester.
Nellie Geraghty, 79, suffered serious head injuries as she desperately tried to cling on to the bag during the attack in Oldham, on Thursday November 24. She died in Royal Oldham Hospital at around midnight on the following Friday.
Her handbag, which contained the ashes of her husband Frank, was missing when she was discovered in an alleyway. The strap was still in Mrs Geraghty's hand. The ashes have not been recovered.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: "A 37-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He remains in police custody for questioning.''
Former school cleaner and cotton mill worker Mrs Geraghty was found collapsed in an alleyway near her home in Shaw just before noon.
Inside her handbag was a blue velvet bag containing the ashes of her husband Frank - who died 17 years ago - in a small box, and also £200 in cash.
A post-mortem examination confirmed that Mrs Geraghty died from a head injury, police said.
In a tribute statement, her family said: "Nellie is much-loved and will always be remembered by all her friends and family. We have lost the best mum in the world, the best sister, grandmother, auntie and friend a person could ever have.
"The world would be a better place if there were more people like you. Heaven will be blessed with your presence. Our sad loss is heaven's gain. We will miss you terribly. Until we meet again, my mum, my sister, my friend, rest in peace.''
Shaw-born Mrs Geraghty and her husband, a fellow cotton mill worker who went on to work for the Oldham co-operative bus company, had four children.
Two teenage boys, aged 14 and 17, were arrested in connection with the death of Mrs Geraghty last month and bailed until January 9.