A 76-year-old woman murdered in a quiet West Sussex village was “not afraid of anything”, her family have said, amid reports she had tried to save a teacher who was also killed.
Sandy Seagrave and 32-year-old Amy Appleton, who taught at Copthorne Church of England Junior School, were found dead outside a semi-detached house in a quiet street in Crawley Down on Sunday.
A 37-year-old man arrested on suspicion of their murders is still on life support after being found seriously injured outside the property, police said.
Seagrave’s family paid tribute to her in a statement on Friday after reports suggested she was killed after trying to come to Ms Appleton’s aid.
“She was one of a kind, an eccentric character who was stubbornly independent, feisty, brave and not afraid of anything,” they said.
“She was devoted to children and especially animals, including a wild fox who we are continuing to feed now that she has gone.”
Details have not yet been released concerning how they died, but Sussex Police have said it was not a knife attack, as had been initially reported. It has been confirmed that one of the victims was known to the suspect.
Detective chief inspector Chris Friday said: “I extend my heartfelt sympathies to their families, who are being supported by specialist trained officers. I ask that people respect their privacy at this distressing time.
Chief superintendent Jerry Westerman, West Sussex divisional commander, said: “This was an isolated, yet shocking incident that has shaken many in the community.
“We are thankful to them for supporting officers as they go about their enquiries and anyone wants to talk to them about their concerns or if they have any information they should talk with them.”