A 31-year-old man has been arrested after a hospital worker mother was beaten to death at her west London home.
Police were called to the home of Harsha Patel, 62, in Greenford at 5pm yesterday where she was found with head injuries.
She died 20 minutes later.
Residents say Mrs Patel lived with her husband and their son, who had a mental illness, while their older son lived in nearby Ruislip.
The son would often be heard talking to himself around the house and was described as a clever child before ‘something flipped.’
A 31-year-old man has been arrested after a hospital worker mother was beaten to death at their west London home. Pictured: Police at the scene
Police (pictured at the scene today) were called to the home of Harsha Patel, 62, in Greenford at 5pm yesterday where she was found with head injuries
Two years ago he was seen fleeing their terraced house when it caught fire while he was home alone.
A police helicopter was seen circling the house in search of the killer yesterday. Around 10 police cars and an ambulance were also deployed to the scene.
They arrested a 31-year-old man who is still in police custody.
Police officers and a forensic team were still at the scene on Thursday afternoon, and the road was closed off to non-residents.
A murder investigation has been launched led by Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.
Residents say Mrs Patel lived with her husband and their son, who had a mental illness, while their older son lived in nearby Ruislip. Pictured: Forensic officers at the scene
DCI Harding said: ‘At this early stage we retain an open mind around the circumstances surrounding this incident.
‘However, we can confirm that the victim and the man arrested were known to each other, and we are not actively seeking any other suspects at this time.’
Akbar Khan, a civil engineer, said his wife was friends with Ms Patel who he said cared for her son.
He said: ‘She was a lovely lady, it’s very sad. She was a gentle person, a placid person.
‘My wife knew them well. Her son had some mental issues.
The son would often be heard talking to himself around the house and was described as a clever child before ‘something flipped. Pictured: A policeman at the scene
‘Recently you could hear him indoors. He used to talk very loud as if he was talking to someone in a very high pitches voice.
‘Whether he was talking to someone or to himself, I don’t know.
‘He was clever when he was young and I think he went to private school.
‘But I think something just flipped.
‘My wife felt so sad every time she saw him because I think he was a bright student. It’s a shame how it’s all happened.
‘Two years ago, the parents were away and he was at home alone. It was mid morning and the house caught fire.
‘He legged it like he did yesterday and the neighbours rang the police.
‘Yesterday, I left the house at about 5.05pm and my wife said as soon as I left, it all went crazy.
‘It’s quite shocking. The parents were really nice people, they were really nice people.
‘She worked in a hospital and her husband told her to retire early because of Covid.
A police helicopter was seen circling the house in search of the killer yesterday. Pictured: Police on the scene
‘I think it was an NHS hospital but I’m not sure what exactly she did.’
Commenting on social media, other neighbours shared thoughts for Ms Patel’s husband.
One person said: ‘I hope that her husband has people to support him.
‘He is dealing with the loss of his wife and essentially the loss of his son too.
‘This is when he will need neighbourly support even if it’s just a meal or a card dropped in.’
Another person added: ‘So sad thoughts to the family and I hope he gets some help as he does suffer from mental illness.
‘I really don’t think he would of done this on purpose. I know the son is ill I see him most days out walking and he keeps himself to himself never troubles anyone.
Around 10 police cars and an ambulance were also deployed to the scene
‘It’s very sad and I feel for the husband. They are great neighbours and this will be hard for the whole family.
‘So let’s be there for our fellow neighbours and try and help them out as best we can at this sad time.’
Warnings circulated last night as police scoured the streets for the killer with riot vans, flood lights and a helicopter.
One resident, who did not wish to be named, added: ‘There were flood lights, riot vans and offices searching the streets and the allotments.
‘They were a very nice family. It’s terribly sad.’
Aqib Minhas, 28, said: ‘There was a bit of a frenzy last night, police were telling everyone to stay indoors and stay away from the scene.
‘It was crazy and especially scary because it’s right on our doorstep – at the time everyone thought the guy did a runner and was on the loose.
‘People I’ve spoken to have said there was a bit of shouting from inside the house beforehand.
‘The neighbourhood is a bit shook up by it all.’
The woman’s next of kin are aware and a post-mortem examination will be scheduled in due course.