Antiques dealer found dead is named locally – as police continue to question man
PUBLISHED: 19:21 11 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:21 11 March 2020
Forensic experts have been at the home of a retired antiques dealer after a man was arrested on suspicion of murder following her death more than three weeks ago.
Police initially believed the death of the 88-year-old woman, named locally as Isobel Rhodes, was not suspicious after paramedics found her body in her home on February 17.
But detectives say they 'now have reason to believe there may have been third party involvement' in her unexplained death.
Police this week arrested a 43-year-old man from Ipswich, Suffolk, on suspicion of the murder of the Oxford graduate who specialised in 17th century oak furniture.
Forensics officers were today searching for clues at her home which is off Mill Hill, Capel St Mary near Ipswich.
It is believed that she was found dead after the alarm was raised by a villager who had not seen her for several days and was unable to get a reply at her cottage.
The arrested man is being quizzed by detectives at the police investigation centre in Martlesham.
It is understood Mrs Rhodes ran an antique shop for around 25 years on the Market Hill in Woodbridge, and previously had a shop in Hadleigh, near Ipswich.
But she sold her premises in Woodbridge and the two flats above her shop before auctioning all her remaining furniture last year.
Her neighbour Edward Manson, a clockmaker from Woodbridge, said: 'She was a remarkable lady who had a very good reputation in the antiques world.
'I would describe her as an old school and rather formidable person who didn't suffer fools, but she was capable of acts of kindness and being thoughtful.
'She was charming, but would always let you know if you were in favour or not.
'I know that her health had suffered in the last two or three years.'
Christine Cutler, 76, who lives next door to Mrs Rhodes' shop, said: 'She was fiercely independent and highly intelligent. She knew everything there was to know about furniture.
'She had to give up driving before she retired and often stayed the week in her flat above the shop, and going back to her cottage at weekends. It is terrible to hear that she has died in these circumstances.'