A woman found dead in her north London home was repeatedly stabbed to death, police said.
The woman, named locally as Cathy Burke, 55, was found by police on Thursday after neighbours became concerned she had not been seen.
Initially they were treating her death as “suspicious” but a post-mortem examination gave a provisional cause of death as stab injuries.
Now a murder investigation has been launched and no arrests have been made so far.
Neighbours said she was a former council worker who was forced to take early retirement because of “problems with her lungs”
One who lives two doors down from the terraced home in Muswell Hill said she raised the alarm when they hadn’t heard from the mother-of-one whose son is away at university in a couple of days.
A ladder was put against the front wall so neighbours could try and see if she was inside.
She said: “I was one of the ones who actually called the police because we were worried about her, no one had heard from her in a while.
“That ladder was up there from where some of the other neighbours were trying to see inside.
“They couldn’t see her though. That’s why it’s so unbelievable that they are saying she was bound and and gagged. Who does that?
“It’s just such an awful way to go.
“She was a lovely person, a really good neighbour.
“She lived in her own and never had a bad word to say about anyone.
“She brought her son up to be a lovely young man.
“We have lived in the street about the same length of time – 19 years – she was Irish and came over here a while ago.
“Her dog was her dad’s that she inherited after he died – she used to care for him.
“I think her surname was Burke.”
Another neighbour said everyone in the street was worried about future break-ins.
He said: “What we have heard is such a macabre scenario, we need to know if we should be worried about any loonies on the lose.
“My understanding is she cut quite a solitary figure, she had her friends in the road, but I would only just say ‘hi’ I’m passing.
“I just can’t understand why anyone would do something like that to someone like her, it’s just so shocking.”
Today the house remained sealed off as forensic investigators carried out their work.
Scotland Yard said: “A murder investigation has been launched following the suspicious death of a woman in Muswell Hill.
“At 7.03pm on Thursday, 16 November, police were called to concerns for the wellbeing of a resident at an address in Hill Road.
“Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. The body of a woman, believed to be in her 50s, was found inside the property.
“Although we believe we know the identity of the deceased, we await formal identification.
“A post-mortem examination held on Saturday at Haringey Mortuary gave provisional cause of death as stab injuries.
“Officers await formal identification. This is not expected to take place this weekend.
“Detectives from the Homicide and Major Crime Command are investigating.
“At this early stage, they retain an open mind as to any motive. Enquiries continue to establish the circumstances and officers continue to work at the scene.
“There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”