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Best friend's happy memories of Joan

PUBLISHED: 14:47 17 December 2001 | UPDATED: 11:02 03 March 2010

THE best friend of murdered Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert today choked back tears as she told of an elegant woman who had been hounded by youngsters.

Sylvia Lambert, told how she last saw the pensioner only 24 hours before friends from the village discovered her body in the hallway of her Capel St Mary home yesterday.

THE best friend of murdered Suffolk pensioner Joan Albert today choked back tears as she told of an elegant woman who had been hounded by youngsters.

Sylvia Lambert, told how she last saw the pensioner only 24 hours before friends from the village discovered her body in the hallway of her Capel St Mary home yesterday.

Mrs Albert, a 79-year-old widow, had failed to answer her weekly 8am Sunday phone call from friends who regularly checked on her well being, Mrs Lambert, who lives in Elm Lane in Capel, said.

"She'll be missed an awful lot. I've known her for 25 years and went there to visit every other day," the 65-year-old said.

"The laughs we had. She used to laugh about everything, silly things. I went around every Friday night and Saturday morning. She liked her tipple of brandy in the evening.

"It's awful," she said of her friend's violent death.

"Joan was a very elegant lady. At 8.30 in the morning she'd have her make-up on. She always took pride in herself, always."

Mrs Lambert told how her murdered friend met her late husband Cyril on a cruise.

"They had some wonderful times together. They were always going abroad. We've talked and talked about all these things. She lived for Cyril."

Since Mr Albert died, around eight years ago, Mrs Albert had lived for her little dog Rusty, she added.

The pensioner had many friends in the village where she had lived for decades since moving from Dedham in Essex where she owned a hairdresser's shop around 30 years ago, she said.

And she told of a woman paranoid about security at her home in Boydlands since youngsters started plaguing the frail pensioner who suffered heart problems.

"She'd had a lot of trouble with children in the last 18 months and had security lights that went on. It was like Fort Knox."

Mrs Lambert said windows at the back of the pensioner's two storey detached home in Boydlands had been found broken when the victim's body, dressed in nightclothes, was discovered yesterday.

Today the curtains at Mrs Albert's neat home remained closed and flowers were in most of the windows.

Meanwhile, residents in the quiet cul-de-sac spoke of their horror as detectives launched a murder inquiry.

A 37-year-old Boydlands resident struggled to fight back tears as she remembered Mrs Albert.

"We'd always get a Christmas card from her and her King Charles spaniel Rusty," she said.

"She used to walk him every day. She knew people in the close and visited people. She wasn't well at all and had heart problems."

The woman (who did not want to be named) said: "I'm in shock. I just can't believe something like this has happened. Whatever happened, she didn't deserve it and it makes me very angry."

And she also told of how the frail pensioner had been plagued over the last year by youngsters.

"She'd been having youngsters pestering her and she was perturbed about that. She was very security conscious and wouldn't answer the door at night."

Another resident said Mrs Albert had lived in the cul-de-sac for around 24 years and had been alone in the house since the death of her husband.

The pensioner remembered chatting to Mrs Albert about their gardens as the victim frequently visited friends in the close.

"In the last few years she got so she was very frail and would have her stick to go to her friends. She was very slow moving but looked after herself. She was a wonderful cook," added the Boydlands resident who asked not to be named.

Shoppers outside the village newsagents Capel News also spoke in the aftermath of Mrs Albert's violent.

Steve Wright, who has lived in the village for 30 years said he had been burgled twice in that time but there had never to his knowledge, been a violent crime.

Capel was "a nice dormitory village which was built for people working in Ipswich and around," said the 61-year-old who lives in Cedars Lane.

A 70-year-old man from Whitehorse Road, who asked not to be named, was on his way to visit his 92-year-old mum who lives not far from the attack scene.

"I've lived here for about 30 years and nothing like this has happened. What can you do about it?" he said, adding that he had wanted to keep the horrific news from his mother but feared she would hear of it elsewhere.

The lane near the victim's home remained sealed off today by plastic police cordons and Boydlands was closed to traffic.


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