Thursday, 26 May 2022

Man, 33, in court charged with murdering charity fundraiser, 86, found dead next to her critically injured husband

A MAN has today appeared in court charged with murdering a pensioner who was found dead next to her critically injured husband.

Freda Walker, 86, was discovered with "horrendous" injuries in her home of 50 years while her husband Kenneth, 88, remains in hospital.

Vasile Culea, 33, has been charged with murder and attempted murder after the horror in Langwith Junction, Derbys, last Saturday.

The Romanian national appeared at Nottingham Magistrates' Court today for a short hearing.

Culea, who wore a grey tracksuit and handcuffs in the dock, spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

He kept his head bowed during the hearing and was remanded in custody to next appear at Derby Crown Court on Tuesday.

The suspect was arrested at his home in Church Warsop – around three miles from where charity fundraiser Freda was killed.

Emergency crews were scrambled to the couple's home at 9am last Saturday after they were found by a concerned neighbour.

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Assistant Chief Constable Dave Kirby, of Derbyshire Police, branded the murder "an act of horrendous cowardice".

Police previously confirmed one of their leading lines of inquiry was that the incident was a suspected burglary.

Kenneth, a retired miner and former chairman of Bolsover District Council, remains in hospital in a critical condition.

The couple have been described as “lovely people” who were “well known” in the local area. 

Kenneth, a retired mining safety inspector, had celebrated his 88th birthday the week prior to the brutal assault.

Bolsover MP Mark Fletcher has paid tribute to the couple, saying his “thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time”.

Tributes have also flooded in from heartbroken neighbours in the "tight-knit" community.

Flowers were placed outside the couple's home, with one touching note reading: "To a lovely lady who would help anyone she could."

One local resident said: "Ken and Freda were devoted to each other. This has shocked everyone who knew them."

ACC Kirby said: "Our thoughts remain with the couple’s family and friends – and I, along with the whole of Derbyshire Constabulary, send our best wishes to Ken.

“While today’s charge is clearly positive news, and one that I hope brings a degree of reassurance, the investigation into the incident continues and I would once again appeal for anyone who has any information to come forward.

“In particular detectives still want to speak to anyone who was walking or driving on Station Road between 4.30pm on Friday 14 January and 9am on Saturday 15 January to come forward as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Derbyshire police on 101 including reference 240-150122:

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