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'A lovely old lady' - Tributes to woman whose husband has been charged with her murder

PUBLISHED: 16:32 17 July 2019

Bumble's Cottage (in blue), Mill Street, Buxton, where Doreen Virgo lived with husband Mick. Picture Peter Walsh.

Bumble's Cottage (in blue), Mill Street, Buxton, where Doreen Virgo lived with husband Mick. Picture Peter Walsh.

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A lovely old lady - that is how neighbours have remembered a woman whose husband has been charged with murder after she was found dead at a care home in Costessey, near Norwich.

Grays Fair Court in New Costessey. Picture: staffGrays Fair Court in New Costessey. Picture: staff

Police were called to Grays Fair Court care home in Dereham Road at 7.30pm on Friday, July 12 following reports that a woman had been found dead inside the property.

The woman, Doreen Virgo, 89, had been staying at the care home at the time of her death but previously lived at Mill Street, Buxton.

The result of a Home Office post mortem examination, which took place on Sunday (July 14), showed that Mrs Virgo had died from compression of the neck.

Her husband, Mick Virgo, 81, also of Mill Street, Buxton, appeared at Norwich Magistrates Court this morning (Wednesday, July 17) after being charged with her murder.

MORE: 'She was very friendly'- Former neighbour 'surprised' to learn of alleged care home murder

People living in Buxton, a rural Norfolk village between Norwich and Aylsham, have spoken of their shock and sadness at what has happened.

A 49-year-old, who has lived in Buxton since 2013, said: "She was a lovely old lady, a lovely old lady."

The neighbour said he did not see her "that much" but fondly recalls being asked over to have a drink with them on Christmas Day.

He said: "She would have a little sherry or glass of wine.

"We'd just have a little chit chat."

He said: "She was quite frail. When you did see her she'd be walking with a little walking frame."

He added: "I'm going to miss her because she was a lovely old lady - I'm going to miss seeing her about."

The man said he had not realised she had recently been in a care home.

The first time he realised there might be something going on was when he saw police in the area on Saturday.

He said officers remained in the area from Saturday until Monday evening.

He said: "They said they were investigating the death of an elderly lady."

The man said he was "quite surprised" to find out what happened and added that "she's going to be missed".

Meanwhile, a 70-year-old man, who wanted to remain anonymous, who has lived in Buxton for more than 30 years said he also knew the woman.

He said: "The neighbours found Doreen very friendly and a nice person to know.

"We would say hello to her."

The man said she had lived in the area for almost as long as they had but had recently been "in and out of hospital".

It was not thought she had been in the residential home in Costessey long.

The man said they were "surprised" to see police arrive in Buxton over the weekend.

He said they did not know what was happening until they saw it in the newspaper.

Melanie Colman, branch manager of McColls store and Post Office in Buxton, said news of Mrs Virgo's death had been "shocking".

Miss Colman, who used to live near to the Virgos, said: "I never really saw her all that much, but it was always polite greetings.

"She was polite, friendly. I never really saw her much but when you did it was pleasantries."

Although it could be "quite rare" to see her she did sometimes pop into the store.

She said: "She was quite reclusive."

They used to have newspapers delivered from there and she would occasionally pop in, sometimes with a frame.

A colleague described how she "was a really polite lady".

People in the area have described how the home the Virgo's lived at was once a shop before the couple lived there.

It is understood that they sold antiques for a while from the property.

Miss Colman said: "I have heard it was an antique store.

"They certainly have a lot of that sort of stuff within their property."

The Reverend David Hagan-Palmer, from St Andrew's Church, Buxton, said Mrs Virgo, and her family, would be in everyone's thoughts at this time.

He said: "Of course at this time thoughts and prayers are with the family trying to deal with what's happened and trying to understand what's happened.

"Buxton is a closely-knit commuity and we have to just wait to see what the details are."

He said the church was "always open" for people to come in and light a candle or say a few private prayers for Mrs Virgo and her family.

Revd Hagan-Palmer said the fact Mrs Virgo was found in the care home at Costessey on Friday meant it had taken "a little bit of time for people to realise what's going on".

He said: "I think in some ways its still rather new and raw to people.

"I think it's taken a little bit of time for people to realise what's going on and understand."

Steve Riley, vice chairman of Buxton with Lammas parish council, said: "It's shocking.

"Of course we don't know what's behind it or what's happened but it's just shocking.

"You live your life and get to this stage and all of a sudden, this happens. It's a shock isn't it?"

At Norwich Magistrates Court on Wednesday, Virgo, who has glasses, long white hair and a beard, wore a dark coloured long-sleeved top in the dock with the sleeves rolled up.

He spoke only to confirm his name and details during the short hearing.

Magistrates and the court clerk had to speak up during the short hearing as Virgo told them "I can't hear".

The case was formally sent to Norwich Crown Court on Thursday (July 18) morning.

Virgo was remanded in custody.

- Anyone with information regarding this investigation should contact the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team on 101 quoting Op Shorne.

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