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 woman at about 11:30 BST on Tuesday.
The victim is yet to be formally identified but her next-of-kin have been informed.
Murder detectives have not made any arrests. A post-mortem examination is expected to be carried out on Thursday.
Det Insp Paul Considine, who is leading the Met Police investigation, said police believe the woman 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 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 the victim 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.”