A pensioner who was murdered in her own home cut short her last phone conversation after hearing a vehicle pull into her driveway the day she died, police have revealed.
Jenny Methven, 80, was in her home in Forteviot in Perthshire speaking to a friend on the phone when at about 10.30am on February 20 she heard a vehicle in her driveway.
She had not been expecting a visitor and she did not see the vehicle.
Her body was found by her son at around 5.15pm that afternoon. She had suffered injuries to her head and body.
Detective Chief Inspector Colin Gall from Tayside Police, who is leading the murder investigation, said the information forms a crucial part of the enquiry.
He said: "Jenny was chatting with her friend on the phone from about 9.45am. They spoke about various things and Jenny told her friend that that she had been out with the dog just prior to the call.
"Then she had to cut the conversation short because she heard the vehicle pulling up. Clearly this is key information directly from the deceased to her friend.
"We need to identify this vehicle and its occupants. At this point in the enquiry, this is the last known time that we can confirm Mrs Methven was still alive and this vehicle was there. Whoever was in that vehicle can assist us with our investigation and I urge them to come forward."
Witnesses have told Tayside Police that two vehicles were seen in the driveway of Mrs Methven's home at about 1.45pm on Monday February 20. They described two white or light-coloured vehicles parked nose to tail in the drive. One of the vehicles was larger than the other and it is possible they were vans.
Tayside Police wants to identify both of those vehicles and their occupants.
DCI Gall said: "Jenny’s murder has horrified people in the Strathearn valley and beyond, but it is clear that they have turned that shock and outrage into a resolute determination to help us find whoever was responsible.
"The response to our appeals for information and assistance so far has been excellent from the rural community and from people who knew Jenny from as far afield as Bournemouth and Caithness where friends of Jenny have contacted us to offer any sliver of information that might assist us.
"As well as extensive door to door in the local area and the ongoing review of private CCTV coverage that has been provided to us, we were successful in reaching large number of commuters, drivers and their passengers yesterday.
"Our officers stopped more than 360 vehicles during the day yesterday and spoke with many passengers on the buses that run through the area. Good information and feedback was gained and we are in the process of researching and following up what we were told."
The enquiry team still wants to identify people who were seen in the area on February 20 and speak with them as they may have information useful to enquiries. They include a man who was seen boarding a Perth-bound bus at the stop nearest to Mrs Methven’s cottage at 4.30pm.
Tayside Police also wants to speak with the occupants of vehicles who were seen in the area, including passengers on the number 17 Stagecoach bus that would have passed Mrs Methven’s cottage
They also want to speak to a man seen walking a brown coloured dog on the road out of Forteviot at around 10.30am, and the driver of an agricultural forklift vehicle which was seen travelling east on the road from Forteviot to Forgandenny, which passed Mrs Methven’s cottage, at around 10.30am.
Tayside Police have set up a dedicated phone number for information that could help in this enquiry: 01738 892925. Callers can speak to the enquiry team during office hours or the Tayside Police communications centre at all other times.