An 85-year-old woman has been found dead in her home after a “cowardly assault”, police have said.
A handyman working at the address in Ashmour Gardens in Romford, east London, found the body of Rosina Coleman at about 11:30 BST on Tuesday.
Police said formal identification had not yet been carried out but officers are confident the body is that of Ms Coleman.
Murder detectives have not made any arrests.
Det Insp Paul Considine, who is leading the investigation, said police believe Ms Coleman was attacked between 07:30 and 11:30 on Tuesday.
He added: “This is a despicable incident in which the victim, an elderly lady who lived alone, had been subjected to a cowardly assault that left her with serious injuries.
“It is imperative that we find those responsible for this horrendous offence.”
A post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out on Thursday.
A police forensics tent has been erected in the garden of the property, with a tarpaulin sheet drawn across one of the glass windows.
Officers have also searched nearby drains and bushes.
A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said Ms Coleman was an “incredible woman” who had lived on the street for more than 40 years.
The 83-year-old man added: “It’s such a sad thing. I can’t get my head around it.
“She was a seamstress and still made all her own clothes, she made a suit a week.”