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8 May 2013, 18:40 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
An elderly Darlington woman who was found dead after suffering significant head injuries has been named by police.
Officers said they believed the 80-year-old to be mother-of-two Sybil Sibthorpe, who lived in The Stray in Darlington.
Her body was found in a yard at the rear of an end-of-terrace house in Haughton Road in the town at around 12.30pm on Wednesday.
Her husband William, 77, said: ``She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother. ``Sybil was loved by all who knew her. We love her and that is tribute enough. She was a lovely, hard-working woman and why anyone should want to hurt her, I don't know.''
A post-mortem examination carried out at Darlington Memorial Hospital confirmed that Mrs Sibthorpe's death was as a result of significant head injuries.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, from Durham Constabulary, said: ``We believe Mrs Sibthorpe was the victim of sustained attack and sadly died as a result of injuries suffered during that attack. ``I would appeal to anyone with information about this incident to contact us.'' Three local men, aged 44, 40 and 33, who were arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder remain in custody at separate police stations across the force area where they continue to be questioned.
An incident room has been opened at Bishop Auckland police station and a team of around 40 detectives are working on the case.