Post-mortem examinations on a murdered woman and her elderly mother have found they died from asphyxiation.
Angela Holgate, 54, and 75-year-old Alice Huyton were discovered by a relative at Mrs Holgate’s home near Southport on Saturday.
Detectives want to speak to lodger Barry Morrow – who lived with divorced Mrs Holgate in Churchtown – but stress he is not a suspect at this stage.
Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent Nikki Holland said Alice Huyton had not spoken to her daughter for a week and that was last seen on Friday evening when she left to visit her.
Angela Holgate, above, and her mother, Alice Huyton, were found asphyxiated
Post mortem results revealed Angela had been dead longer than Alice and that the two bodies had been found in the same part of the semi-detached house, although police are not saying exactly where.
Barry Morrow was last seen on Saturday morning in Southport but there has been a sighting of him in the French port of Calias, Chief Superintendent Holland said.
Police say they do not believe he is a danger to the public, nor do they think he is armed.
Julie Gladwin, a close friend of Angela Holgate, said she was due to go on holiday with her. She said she had met lodger Barry Morrow on several occasions.
“We’d had barbecues in the summer,” she told Sky News.
I have happy memories of Angela. I always will have. She was a really lively, bubbly, outgoing person. You couldn’t wish to meet a nicer person.
Julie Gladwin, Angela Holgate’s neighbour
“He cooked the food for us and he seemed ok. I only met him a couple of times. They seemed to get on fine.
“I don’t think they were a couple. All I knew he was just the lodger. She never complained about him or anything like that.
Mrs Gladwin said everyone had been devastated by news of the double murder.
“It’s just such a shock. It’s still sinking in. It’s unbelievable”, she said.
“I have happy memories of Angela. I always will have. She was a really lively, bubbly, outgoing person. You couldn’t wish to meet a nicer person.
“I’ll never forget her. She worked hard always working very busy. She worked in Tesco and people used to go to her till because she was always chatting and happy. She was always chatting away.
Mrs Holgate’s lodger, Barry Morrow, may have fled the country
Mr Morrow is described as white, 5ft 7in, of medium to stocky build with straight, short, receding brown hair and blue eyes.
Mrs Holgate’s white Citroen – registration PN11 RWK – is also missing.
The mother of two adult daughters had been ill and had not been seen out of the house for the previous week.
A relative went to the property on Saturday when nothing was heard from the women and the bodies were found. Police were called to the scene at around 5.45pm.
Mrs Huyton was married and her husband, believed to be in his 80s, is said to be “devastated”.
Ch Supt Holland, area commander for Sefton, said earlier: “We are appealing to anyone with any information that may help us with this investigation to come forward as soon as possible.
Stunned neighbours described Mrs Holgate, who had lived in the house for around 20 years, as a “lovely woman”.
:: Anyone with any information is asked to call detectives on 0151 777 3165 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.