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Murder

PUBLISHED: 18:01 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:56 23 August 2010

PAULINE RICHARDSON: A lovely neighbour who died at the hands of a brutal killer.

PAULINE RICHARDSON: A lovely neighbour who died at the hands of a brutal killer.

I don t think it has hit home yet. She was lovely person. She was very genuine and would do anything to help you if she could. It s so tragic. I just can t believe it. I just went cold when I heard. These are the distraught words of Pat Harwood, 65, of

I don't think it has hit home yet. She was lovely person. She was very genuine and would do anything to help you if she could. It's so tragic. I just can't believe it. I just went cold when I heard."

These are the distraught words of Pat Harwood, 65, of Mulberry Road, Northfleet, after hearing her 'lifelong friend' had been brutally murdered in Tunisia while on holiday.

Pauline Richardson, 64, who lived next door to Mrs Harwood for 25 years, was beaten and strangled to death.

The grandmother, who used to work as a receptionist at Cygnets Leisure Centre, Northfleet, was reported missing by friends.

Tunisian police searched the area and found her body in the picturesque seaside resort of Port El Kantaoui.

A FORMER neighbour of a woman who was brutally murdered while on holiday in Tunisia has paid moving tribute to her dear friend, writes Jason Goodyer.

Pat Harwood, 65, of Mulberry Road, Northfleet, spent more than 25 years living next door to Pauline Richardson, 64 (pictured above).

The British tourist from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, was killed in the Tunisian seaside resort of Port El Kantaoui last week.

Her body was found last Tuesday (July 1) after she was reported missing by one of her travelling companions. The widow had been badly beaten and then strangled.

Mrs Harwood said: "I don't think it has hit home yet. She was lovely person. She was very genuine and would do anything to help you if she could.

"It's so tragic. I just can't believe it. I just went cold when I heard. Even when you look at it in the paper you can't imagine it being her."

The two women moved into adjacent homes in Mulberry Road, within weeks of each other in 1970 and quickly became good friends.

They would often take care of each other's children and Mrs Harwood fondly remembers the time she spent going on day trips and visiting markets with her friend.

She said: "She used to take me and my daughter out for day trips and we'd take the dogs for walks together. She loved markets. We would always traipse round to different markets throughout the area or go up to the West End, in London with her baby."

Mrs Harwood says her friend loved the warm weather and could often be seen sunbathing in her back garden on sunny days before going to her job as a receptionist at Cygnets Leisure Centre, Northfleet.

The two remained close for many years even after Mrs Richardson moved away to Old Manor Drive and then to Ivy Close, Gravesend. Mrs Harwood helped her friend through a difficult time when her husband Matthew died in the 1990s before she moved back to her home town of Bishop Auckland to be with her family some years later.

Her daughter, Mrs Beverley Sains, 45, who lives with her husband Mark and children Richard, 22 and Natalie, 10, in Bishop Auckland, said: "The news of her death has come as a dreadful shock. To be told that she has been killed is so hard to accept. It has left us all totally numb. Tunisia was a place where she regularly took holidays. She just loved to travel and wherever she went she made friends. She had a lovely out-going personality. She just wanted to enjoy life to the full and enjoy her family. She loved the warm weather because it helped her arthritis. She loved to shop and she loved holidays."

Police at Durham Constabulary are liaising with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and providing support for her family.

A Tunisian man has been arrested and is being questioned in connection with the attack. Did you know Pauline? Call the Reporter newsdesk on 01474 320753 or e-mail : jason.goodyer@archant.co.uk.

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