MURDER LATEST: Tributes to murder victim

Police outside the home of Karen Marshall (below) on Fulwood Avenue, Grange Park.
Police outside the home of Karen Marshall (below) on Fulwood Avenue, Grange Park.
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Family and friends of a Blackpool woman found dead in her home today paid tribute to her as police continue to question a teenager on suspicion of her murder.

Detectives are quizzing an 18-year-old man in custody after the body of Karen Marshall was found at her home on Fulwood Avenue, Grange Park.

Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall

The 34-year-old, described by police as a “vulnerable lady”, was found dead in her top floor flat by a relative and neighbour.

Her death was initially not thought to be suspicious and a post mortem proved inconclusive - but new information about her stolen Post Office card being used after she died triggered police to launch a murder probe over the weekend.

Her niece Beth described Ms Marshall as “amazing” in an emotional Facebook tribute.

She wrote: “Rest In Peace my amazing Auntie Karen. You were great to talk to! I will never forget you.

“You’re where you wanted to be now, with your mum and dad, I hope you’re happy up there. Sleep tight, you’re not alone anymore.”

Ms Marshall’s body was discovered at around 3.40pm last Tuesday.

Further inquires are now underway to try and establish how she died, although it is not thought she had any visible injuries.

Detectives believe her stolen Post Office card was used at two ATM machines on Dickson Road, in Blackpool, and Westcliffe Drive, in Layton, after her death.

They are appealing for anyone with information about her death or the use of the stolen card to contact them.

Det Supt Paul Withers, from the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “Karen lived alone and was a vulnerable lady.

“At some point either before or after her death her post office card was stolen and has since been used at ATM machines on Dickson Road and Westcliffe Drive.

“We’re very keen to identify any witnesses that may have any knowledge of this card being used or who perhaps saw anybody frequenting the address over the past week to get in touch.”

An 18-year-old man and two girls, aged 15 and 14, all from Blackpool, were arrested on suspicion of murder on Saturday.

Both girls have since been released with no further action to be taken against them, but the man remains in police custody being questioned by detectives.

Today neighbours revealed their shock at Ms Marshall’s death, describing her as a “friendly” woman.

Next-door neighbour Linda Holland, 55, said: “I am absolutely gobsmacked. I am going to miss her. She was a very quiet lady and kept herself to herself.

“She was a good neighbour and always helped to bring the bins in and out.

“She even offered to help do the gardening at times. She was hard to get to know, but always friendly.”

Mark Smeeton, 54, of Fulwood Avenue, added: “She did keep herself to herself, but to hear she could have been murdered is quite shocking.”

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: “I remember her when she first moved in. She was never any trouble and to hear an investigation has been launched is very upsetting.”

Terry Bennett, chairman of the Grange Park Community Partnership, said he saw crime scene investigators at her home yesterday.

He said: “I drove past Fulwood Avenue around noon and saw the men in white suits and several police cars and vans outside.

“It is clearly sad news.”

And Grange Park Coun Brian Doherty added: “It is devastating for the lady and the family involved and I hope the police catch those responsible as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lancashire Police on 101.