Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Something Evil in Our Midst' - How Judith Richardson's Terrible Murder Cast a Long Shadow over Her Home Town

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Something Evil in Our Midst' - How Judith Richardson's Terrible Murder Cast a Long Shadow over Her Home Town

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Tully

ON August 18, a year on from Judith Richardson's savage death, Hexham Abbey will open its doors to pay a special tribute.

The 77-year-old spinster lived only a short walk from the abbey and one of her favourite pastimes was to listen to the lunchtime organ recitals held there.

She became a familiar figure at the 13th century centrepiece of her home town.

After her killing, a special thanksgiving service was held in her memory.

And now that service of October 10 last year will form the basis for the anniversary tribute of August 18 this year. The abbey's director of music, Marcus Wibberley, said: "The recital, part of our summer series, will be dedicated to Judith Richardson's name with a series of pieces written which will be appropriate to the occasion.

"If there was something at the funeral that was appropriate, I may be able to incorporate it.

"And we intend to invite Miss Richardson's family to the recital."

Miss Richardson near Hexham town centre, and barely 200 yards from the abbey she loved.

The nature of her death sent shock waves through the peaceful community and police were swift to try to allay public fears in the immediate aftermath.

But the impact was long and lasting.

The Rector of Hexham, Canon Graham Usher, said: "Judith Richardson's murder has cast a long shadow over Hexham because something evil happened in our midst.

"This horrific event robbed a close family of a dear aunt as well as a wider group of people of a good friend.

"I would see Judith regularly around the town and she always had something positive and warm to say."

Canon Usher added: "She delighted in organ music and was a regular attendee at lunchtime concerts in Hexham Abbey. "It is fitting that the first anniversary of her death will be marked by an organ recital in the abbey so that we can remember Judith with gratitude and joy. …

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