International manhunt for lodger after bodies of 'strangled' Avon lady and daughter are found at home

  • Police urge Barry Morrow, 51, to make contact
  • Angela Holgate, 54, and Alice Huyton, 75, found dead
  • Officers believe lodger may be in France or Spain
  • Ms Holgate's white Citroen car also missing

An Avon lady has been found dead at home with her elderly mother, triggering an international manhunt for her lodger.

The bodies of Angela Holgate, 54, and her mother, Alice Huyton, 75, were discovered on Saturday evening.

It is believed they had been strangled.

Wanted: Merseyside Police have asked lodger Barry Morrow, 51, to contact them to help with their enquiries over the double death

Wanted: Merseyside Police have asked lodger Barry Morrow, 51, to contact them to help with their enquiries over the double death

Probe: Forensic officers investigate the house where the bodies of two women were found in Southport late on Saturday afternoon

Probe: Forensic officers investigate the house where the bodies of two women were found in Southport late on Saturday afternoon

Officers want to question Mrs Holgate's former partner, Barry Morrow, 51, who had been lodging with her and is thought to have fled abroad.

Police described the deaths as suspicious but are waiting for the results of post-mortems before launching a murder inquiry.

Mrs Huyton's 80-year-old husband, Jim, found the bodies of his wife and daughter in Mrs Holgate's smart semi-detached home in Southport, Merseyside.

It is understood he became concerned when he failed to hear from his wife, who had gone to stay with their daughter – who had been unwell – on Friday night.

Neighbours said Mrs Holgate, who was well known locally through her work for door-to-door cosmetics firm Avon, and Mr Morrow, an engineer, had previously been in a relationship but split up. However, they remained friends and he moved back in a few months later as her lodger.

Police last night issued a photograph of Mr Morrow, who has links to France and Spain and is described as short but powerfully built, and urged him to hand himself in.

Two Women Found Dead

Search: Officers enter the house near a black garage following the grim discovery on Saturday

Search: Officers enter the house near a black garage following the grim discovery on Saturday

Officers also want to trace Mrs Holgate's white Citroen C1 car, registration PN11 RWK, which is missing from her driveway.

Mrs Holgate had lived in the house, in the upmarket suburb of Churchtown, for 20 years. She was divorced and had two daughters, aged 34 and 28. Mrs Huyton had four children with her husband, who worked in a tile shop before he retired.

Neighbours and friends of Mrs Holgate, who also worked in a local supermarket, said they were stunned by the news.

'Angela was such a lovely person,' one said. 'I think Barry was more than just a lodger but I don't really know much about him.

Find: Police are also investigating the whereabouts of Ms Holgate's white Citroen car, which also went missing after the bodies were found

Find: Police are also investigating the whereabouts of Ms Holgate's white Citroen car, which also went missing after the bodies were found

Search: A forensics officer at the house where two bodies were found

Search: A forensics officer at the house where two bodies were found

'Angela had been ill so her mum had come to look after her and stayed the night on Friday. When her husband hadn't heard from her, he went round to the house and discovered the bodies.'

Another neighbour, Kevin Woodfull, 49, said he and his wife, Hayley, had arranged to spend New Year's Eve with Mrs Holgate just a few days ago.

'My wife said she seemed really happy and she was always a cheerful woman,' he said.

'We heard that Angela's mum had become worried about her daughter after not hearing from her for a while and phoned the house.

'Apparently she spoke to the lodger and he told her to come round for tea if she didn't believe her daughter was OK.'

Mr Woodfull added: 'I can't believe what's happened. It is such a quiet neighbourhood.'

Last night the family of the two women were too upset to comment. However, a message was posted on a local internet forum, apparently from a sibling of Mrs Holgate.

It read: 'My family do not know any facts as yet – investigations are still ongoing – apart from the fact that my mother and my sister were found in the house.

'We, as a family, want to try, if that is going to be possible, to get our heads round why this happened. All the family members are, at this moment in time, devastated by this.'

A forensic officer combs an upstairs room in the property, which also housed a male lodger

A forensic officer combs an upstairs room in the property, which also housed a male lodger

Merseyside Police said post-mortem examinations on the two women would take place today to try to establish the cause of death.

Forensic officers were last night carrying out a detailed search of the property and police have stepped up high-visibility patrols in the area to try to reassure the public.

Chief Superintendent Nikki Holland, of Merseyside Police, said: 'We are investigating the tragic deaths of these two women and our sympathy goes to their families.

'Detectives are investigating the circumstances and are trying to piece together the women's last movements.

'We are appealing to anyone with any information that may help us with this investigation to come forward as soon as possible.

'In particular we are keen to trace Mr Morrow, who lived at the house for a period of time and who we believe may have vital information for this investigation.'

Witnesses or anyone with information should call detectives on 0151 777 3165 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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