THE family of a murdered Southampton pensioner have paid tribute their “devoted mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.”

Detectives launched a murder inquiry when the body of 85-year-old Delia Hughes was found by family members on Saturday evening after they had not been able to contact her since last Thursday.

A post mortem confirmed she had died from several blows to the head.

A family spokesman this morning paid tribute to Mrs Hughes. A statement read: “We are all absolutely devastated and deeply saddened by what we can only describe as an extremely cruel and pointless act against an elderly and defenceless woman.

“Delia was the kindest person anyone could wish meet and she never had crosswords with anyone, in fact, Delia would do anything for anyone and had a heart of gold.

“Delia was fit and active for her age and for someone like her to be so cruelly taken from us in this way is too much and we want justice as soon as we can.

“Delia's great grandchildren idolised her and no matter how old she was, she did everything for them.

“They were proud to have a great grandmother whom they called “nana”.

“We are all going to miss her greatly.”

Mrs Hughes, who was originally from Blackpool but who had lived in Southampton for 17 years, had one daughter, two grandsons and three great grandchildren.

She was retired but previously worked as a supervisor for Littlewoods.

Detectives have obtained a 24 hour extension to continue questioning a 37 year old Southampton man who was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of murder.

A 29 year old local woman arrested yesterday, Monday, August 20, also remains in police custody where she too is assisting police with their enquiries.