The family of a 76-year-old woman murdered in a West Sussex village have said she was “not afraid of anything” amid reports she stepped in to try to save a teacher who was also killed.
Sandy Seagrave and 32-year-old Amy Appleton, who taught at Copthorne Church of England Junior School, were found dead outside a semi-detached house in a quiet street in Crawley Down on Sunday.
Police said the 37-year-old man arrested on suspicion of their murders remains on life support after he was found seriously injured inside the property.
Ms Seagrave’s family paid tribute to her in a statement on Friday after reports suggested she was killed after trying to come to Ms Appleton’s aid.
“She was one of a kind, an eccentric character who was stubbornly independent, feisty, brave and not afraid of anything,” they said.
“She was devoted to children and especially animals, including a wild fox who we are continuing to feed now that she has gone.”
Sussex Police have not yet released details of how the two women died, but said it was not a knife attack and that one of the victims was known to the suspect.
Detective chief inspector Chris Friday said: “I extend my heartfelt sympathies to their families, who are being supported by specialist trained officers. I ask that people respect their privacy at this distressing time.
Chief superintendent Jerry Westerman, West Sussex divisional commander, said: “This was an isolated, yet shocking incident that has shaken many in the community.
“We are thankful to them for supporting officers as they go about their enquiries and anyone wants to talk to them about their concerns or if they have any information they should talk with them.”