The residents of a “honeypot village” in North Yorkshire have paid tribute and spoken of their shock after the death of an elderly resident and subsequent murder investigation.

Police and CSI investigations continue today (Friday) in Thornton-le-Dale at the house where a woman, named locally as Brenda, was found dead on Wednesday.

The village is known for its picturesque scenery, thatched cottages and proximity to some of the county’s finest walking routes and so the recent news has left locals stunned.

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Speculation as to what exactly happened has been the talk of the village, and this evening (Friday) police have confirmed that a 33-year-old man from Leeds has been charged with the murder, however police have not named him.

One of the bartenders in a village pub said she came on shift on Wednesday and everyone was discussing the tragedy.

She said: “We’re just a small village so you can imagine that nothing like this has happened before.”

Thornton-Le-Dale in North Yorkshire is known for its thatched cottages
(Image: Yorkshire Live)

The property itself is on the outskirts of the village heading out into the North Yorkshire countryside.

One woman living opposite, who didn’t want to be named, said: ‘”It’s bloody awful. It hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s one big shock.

“We always say it’s quiet up here and nothing happens.”

She said the woman had lived at the house for “40 years or more years” and she had known her during that whole time.

Floral tributes left outside the property in Thornton-le-Dale
Floral tributes left outside the property in Thornton-le-Dale
(Image: Yorkshire Live)

She said: “She was lovely. She was 88 and fitter than I am. She was very private but if you met her out here she was always full of talk.

“She always spoke to you and always had plenty of chatter.”

Bouquets of flowers were left outside the house, including one with a note saying “the angels weep” and another from the Noyon Indian restaurant saying “our thoughts are with everyone”.

One of the members of staff at the takeaway restaurant, which is situated in Pickering, said Brenda had ordered from the restaurant every fortnight over the past year.

He said: “We feel so sad for her.”

County councillor Janet Sanderson said the residents of the “nice, little, pretty, National Park village” were stunned.

Police outside the property in Thorton-le-Dale
Police outside the property in Thorton-le-Dale

Cllr Sanderson said: “These are distressing times for our village, a village unaccustomed to anything of this nature. I have spoken to residents in the immediate vicinity who are clearly looking for reassurance rather than details at this stage.

“I feel confident that things will settle down once the crime scene has been thoroughly searched and vacated and when the Senior Investigating Officer believes they have enough evidence to make a prosecution.

“I have been listening to the views of local residents around the village since the event occurred.

“Please can I reiterate that if any resident needs to talk this through, I am happy to listen and to help them get through these unsettled times. In the mean time, it is important to wait for the full facts to emerge before drawing any conclusions”.

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A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said this evening (Friday): “A 33 year-old man from Leeds has been charged with the murder of a woman at a residential property in Thornton-le-Dale on Wednesday 5 January 2022.

“Officers were called to the property on High Street in the village shortly before 12pm on Wednesday and when they arrived, they found the woman deceased.

“The 33 year-old man was immediately arrested and taken into police custody.

“He will appear at York Magistrates Court tomorrow (Saturday 8 January).”

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