Neighbour who took 92-year-old Navy war hero food arrested over his killingBy Damien Gayle and Tom Gardner
Tragic: War hero William Davis, 92, who was believed to have served in the Navy, was found dead at a house in Willenhall, West Midlands
The woman, named locally as Charlotte Doody, was arrested at her home, just yards from where frail widower William Davis, 92, was found collapsed in a pool of blood.
Police discovered his battered body at his Hobley Street residence in Willenhall, West Midlands, on Sunday evening.
He died as a result of severe head injuries, West Midlands Police said.
Married mother-of-two Doody, 35, was being questioned by police, as forensic teams scoured her property, which she shares with husband of 18 years Michael and a teenage son and daughter.
Doody would regularly deliver meals to the pensioner who walked with the aid of a zimmer frame, according to neighbours.
Yesterday, Doody's daughter wrote on her Facebook page: ‘OMG poor poor bill I will always miss u and love you xxx you was like a granddad to me.’
When asked by a friend ‘have u got questoined (sic) yet?’, she replied: ‘Nah mum as (sic).’
Neighbour Jaga Sehmbi, 56, said of Mr Davis: ‘Everyone knew him. I would see him walking down the road taking small steps.
‘I would stop and talk to him for half an hour. He had so much knowledge, especially about the local area.
‘The community is devastated, it’s shocking. You could never think anyone would harm such a lovely old bloke.’
At a press conference held by the force yesterday, Detective Superintendent Richard Baker described Mr Davis as a fiercely independent decorated war veteran who was father to two, grandfather to four and a great-grandfather to one.
He said: 'Bill used to go into Willenhall on a weekly basis. He tended his own garden and maintained his home on his own.
'He was very well-known in the local community and used to stop and chat to his neighbours.
'We know he was seen at 9am on Sunday April 1 in his front garden, where he stopped and chatted to passers-by.
'At around 3.15pm a neighbour took some lunch round to his house. At 6pm concerned neighbours who were unable to rouse Bill gained access to his property and found him.'
Step by step: Police search Hobley Street, Willenhall, West Midlands, following the suspected murder of William DavisThe house remains sealed off and forensic searches are continuing.
Mr Baker appealed for anyone who might have been in the Fisher Street and Hobley Street area on Sunday to come forward.
Mr Davis, who worked as a locksmith after leaving the Navy and was known as Bill, lost his wife Clara in 2006, three years after they marked their diamond wedding anniversary.
The couple had a son and a daughter as well as several grandchildren and one great-grandchild, who neighbours said visited regularly.
Paramedics were called to the house where he had lived alone early on Sunday evening after the alarm was raised, but Mr Davis was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mr Baker on Sunday described the scene where Mr Davis was killed as 'heavily bloodstained.' He said: 'There's an item that was found at the scene next to Mr Davis' body.
'It has been submitted for forensic examination. It's my belief that another item was used in the attack on Mr Davis.
'The type of item used could have been taken from the home address or could have been brought to the address.
'He died from multiple head injuries, some of which we believe were caused by a blunt instrument. It appears that when paramedics first arrived there was a light pulse but he died shortly afterwards.'
Police confirmed there was no sign of a forced break in at Mr Davis' home and nothing was stolen. Mr Baker added: 'It appears to be a very violent attack.
Officers were called to the scene at around 6.30pm on Sunday evening
'It's highly likely that the person or persons responsible for this may have left the address heavily blood stained.'
He also pointed out that anyone responsible would have left the address heavily blood-stained.
Neighbours spoke of their shock at the savage killing.
An employee at the local newsagent said Mr Davis had been going there to buy his paper every day for 60 years until difficulty walking meant he couldn’t manage it any more.
‘He would say hello to everybody in the street, he was a really kind bloke,’ he said. ‘You would look at him and think “He’s not 90, he’s about 70”.
‘The amount of stories he’s told me and the medals he has shown me – it was unreal.
‘What happened yesterday was a proper shock. It’s absolutely tragic.
‘We heard that somebody had broken in and stabbed him after he tried to challenge them but the police are not telling us anything.’
Pamela Griffin, 72, who lived opposite Mr Davis for more than 20 years, said: ‘William was a lovely man, very kind and generous and would talk to anyone. He would always talk about his time in the Navy. He was very proud of his war medals.
‘I last saw him on Saturday afternoon. He was pottering in his front garden and looked happy and cheerful.’ Police have refused to say how Mr Davis died or whether there were any signs of a break-in at his home. They described him as a ‘very well-regarded, nice elderly gentleman’.
Mr Davis is believed to have served during World War Two and been awarded several medals.
Today Mr Baker appealed for anyone who knows a friend, neighbour or associate who had blood-stained clothing and was either trying to conceal them or wash them to come forward.