An elderly Thamesmead pensioner was found murdered in her own home after a suspected burglary almost four years ago, an inquest heard today.

Widow Pamela Wheeler died from a head injury and suffocation at her home in Newacres Road on July 20, 2012.

The 76-year-old was found dead two days later by a neighbour who had grown growing increasingly concerned that she hadn’t seen Mrs Wheeler.

During the inquest into her death today (April 21) at Southwark Coroners’ Court Detective Sergeant Vinnie Lindstrom from the Metropolitan Police said the murder investigation is still ongoing.

Attached to the Lewisham borough, DS Lindstrom was part of the murder team who began the investigation almost four years ago.

He told the court: “It became apparent immediately that Pamela has been murdered and we opened a murder investigation.

“At that point we conducted a number of strands of investigation in talking to witnesses, CCTV and forensic retrieval of exhibits.

“As a result of the investigation a suspect has been identified and we are in the process, together with the Criminal Prosecution Service, of bringing this suspect before the judicial system.”


Asked by Coroner Lorna Tagliavini whether there is a realistic chance of charging the suspect, DS Lindstrom confirmed there is, but said: “It will take some further considerable time.”

Peter Jerreat, who carried out the special post mortem examination, gave Mrs Wheeler’s cause of death as suffocation and head injury.

In his report read to the court, Dr Jerreat said he found injuries to Mrs Wheeler’s arms which indicated she had been trying to defend herself during a struggle.

DS Lindstrom confirmed that detectives also found signs of a struggle, as well as property which had been stolen from the house.

News Shopper:

Detectives outside Pamela Wheeler's house in Newacres Road, Thamesmead.

The inquest heard how a neighbour made the grim discovery back in 2012.

In a statement made by Detective Inspector Donna Convery, which was read to the court, she said noticing Mrs Wheeler’s rear door was slightly ajar, the neighbour knocked on her front door at 10.30am on July 22, but got no answer.

She knocked again at 6pm the same day, before going round to the back door where she went into the house to find Mrs Wheeler dead.

The neighbour called the emergency services and covered Mrs Wheeler’s body with a duvet, the inquest heard.

Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, Coroner Tagliavini offered her condolences to the friends and family of Mrs Wheeler.

The police appeal

Following Mrs Wheeler’s murder, detectives issued numerous appeals for information as they hunted for a suspect.

At the time police reported Mrs Wheeler’s body was found with her wrists and ankles tied.

Urging people to come forward with information, investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Gwyn said: "That lady at that age did not deserve to die tied up in her own house and suffer that violence.

"This is a shocking and tragic crime, taking away all dignity and respect. I would urge anyone who may have any information on this murder to contact us as soon as possible."

In July 2013 - a year after her death - police issued a fresh appeal with a £20,000 reward for information that led to a conviction.