PENSIONER Judith Richardson suffered a total of more than 50 injuries in the brutal attack which killed her, a court heard.
The 77-year-old had been hit at least 30 times to the head in an attack allegedly carried out by Graeme Jarman with a hammer.
Jarman is alleged to have murdered Miss Richardson at her home in Hexham, having tricked his way inside as she sat having lunch.
Pathologist Dr Jennifer Bolton, who conducted a post mortem examination on Miss Richardson’s body, gave details of the injuries at Jarman’s murder trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
Miss Richardson, 5ft 4ins and just over eight stone, had 54 external injuries to her body, including 34 to the head and a number of injuries to her arms sustained as she tried to defend herself.
She had extensive fractures to the skull, including ‘depressed fractures’ which would have required severe force to inflict, the doctor said.
Miss Richardson also had 29 tears to the skin on her head, a fractured cheek bone, bleeding on the brain, tears to her brain and bruising to her hands, arms and legs.
Dr Bolton said: “She died as a result of a blunt force head injury due to numerous blows to her head, causing splits to the skin, fractures to the skull and damage to the brain.”
The court also heard evidence Miss Richardson’s 85-year-old neighbour, Edward Brewis, who became a murder suspect when he picked up a hammer allegedly used to bludgeon his neighbour to death and put it in a drawer.
The alleged murder weapon was found wrapped in an Aldi carrier bag on a wall on the street where the incident happened, two days later, with Mr Brewis’ fingerprints on the bag.
The retired farmer told in police interviews after his arrest he had found the hammer on top of flowers near his sister’s home, further down St Wilfrid’s Road, Hexham, as he delivered some mint to her on the afternoon Miss Richardson was allegedly killed.
He said he wiped some hair off it and put it in a drawer then returned it to a wall near where he had found it two days later.
Mr Brewis, who is currently in hospital and was too ill to attend Newcastle Crown Court, told police: “I found it in the garden and I picked it up and took it home.
“I put it in the drawer, I didn’t know it was a murder weapon.”
Mr Brewis had the hammer when he was initially questioned by police the day after the killing but did not mention it.
A day later he put the hammer back near where he found it. It was then discovered by police and he was arrested when his fingerprints were found on the bag. Mr Brewis said in a later police interview: “I knew something bad had happened and I thought it might have been used in what happened.”
He said on Sunday August 21, on his way to watch a local football match in Hexham, he put the hammer on the wall near where he’d found it.
Jarman is accused of targeting Miss Richardson as she sat having lunch in her flat.
Prosecutors say he tricked her into answering her door with Age UK leaflets then battered her to the head with a hammer and stole her bag and jewellery.
Later that day Miss Richardson’s handbag was found dumped in a bin on Clayton Street, in Newcastle city centre, and when officers went to her home to investigate, they found her dead on her hall floor.
Jarman, 48, formerly of Greenways, Delves Lane, Consett, accepts he was in the area on the day but claims he just found the victim’s bag while sitting on a wall near her home. He denies murder.
The trial continues.