A BLACKBURN pensioner has been arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife.

Marian Smith, 74, was found dead with stab wounds at her home in Aberdare Close, Blackburn, police said.

Her husband, named locally as 87-year-old John Smith, was being held by police in hospital.

The reason for his admission to hospital has not been disclosed.


Detectives have confirmed they are not looking for anyone else in connection with their enquiries.

Friends of the retired couple, who lived in an upstairs flat, described ‘chaotic’ scenes on the quiet cul-de-sac as police and paramedics moved in.

Marlene Dewhurst, who knew Mrs Smith for 32 years, said: “Marian used to love getting dressed up and going out to do karaoke.

“You would always see her getting dressed out and heading to the pub, but her health hasn’t been great this last 12 months.

“I’m shocked. The whole street is. They always looked after each other and never bothered anyone. They were like Darby and Joan.”

Lancashire police said they were called to the home at 9.10am on Thursday. Crime scene investigators and forensics experts spent most of the day at the scene after Mr Smith was taken into custody.

A spokesman said: “A Home Office post-mortem established the cause of death as stab wounds.

“The investigation is in its early stages but officers are not looking for anyone else in connection with their enquiries.”

Mr Smith, who is believed to be from Northern Ireland originally, was later transferred from custody to hospital, where he remains under arrest.

Hamida Sumra, 48, said she noticed the emergency services arrive on the scene shortly after she woke up on Wednesday.

She said: “I’ve lived here for 15 years and I can’t believe it. I got out of bed and opened the curtains and there were five or six vehicles outside.

“No-one had any idea what was going and obviously the police couldn’t tell us as they were still investigating.

“We assumed it was to do with John as he has had problems with his health. They were both quite frail. It is such a shame.

“They kept themselves to themselves mostly. They have hardly been out recently but in the past you would see them getting a taxi into town and enjoying themselves.

“They didn’t take the body away until around 4.20pm and that’s when we knew it was something more serious. There were officers guarding the house right into the night.”

Mrs Sumra said police cordoned off the flat until 11.30pm on Thursday and took statements from some neighbours.

She said a young woman, believed to be a community carer for the couple, was also seen being comforted at the scene.

Ms Dewhurst, who moved to Aberdare Close 30 years ago, said the couple used to be karaoke regulars at the Foundry Arms Hotel in Birley Street, which closed in December 2009.

She said: “I’m still in shock. I hardly slept on Thursday night. We are still finding it really hard to come to terms with this morning.

“Marian was such a nice lady.

Sally Hamilton, who runs Hamilton’s Fruit and Veg in East Park Road, used to deliver her products to the couple’s door.

She said: “I’m really sad to hear this. I only really knew them to see at the door but you never expect to hear something like this.”

Blackburn coroner Michael Singleton has been informed about Mrs Smith death, but inquest proceedings have not yet been opened.

Lancashire police’s Force Major Investigation Team is expected to question Mr Smith, who has not been charged, over the weekend.

The reason for his admission to hospital has not been disclosed.