A murder investigation has been opened after a churchwarden was found dead following a suspected burglary.
The pensioner, aged 86, died at a property in Broomfied, Somerset, on Monday at 5.45pm.
The woman has been named locally as Beryl ‘Bez’ Purdy.
One neighbour told the BBC: "Bez was a charismatic person and a devoted member of our community having been our church warden for as long as we can remember."
A man in his 30s has been detained under the mental health act. He was deemed a missing person from a mental health facility when the attack happened.
Beryl had served as a churchwarden at St Mary’s and All Saints Church for 20 years before retiring two years ago.
Parishioners organised a collection for her prior to her departure from the role, the Daily Mail reports.
Another neighbour told the newspaper: “Bez was a stalwart of the local church where she had been a warden.
“It is terrifying to think something like this could happen in such a beautiful out of the way spot.
“You couldn't imagine somewhere farther from crime ridden city streets. It is so idyllic and peaceful. Or at least it was. It will take us a long time to get over something like this.”
Rev Dr Mary Styles, who looks after four local churches, including St Mary and All Saints, said: 'We are all quite sickened by what's happened.
'As a church, we are there for those who seek solace and we are trying to come together as a village as people work through their grief.'