Councillors in the Wibsey ward, including Bradford Council leader David Green, last night reacted with shock at the circumstances of widow Joyce Moulson’s death.

They said work was going on in the area to tackle anti-social behaviour, although they had not been informed of any specific problems in Fair Road, Wibsey, where the 84-year-old lived.

Coun Green urged anybody who had information about those involved in that type of crime to contact the police.

He said: “It is a real tragedy and demonstrates the importance of dealing with anti-social behaviour through the whole of the country, but clearly also in Bradford, because of the consequences that can happen.

“As a local councillor I’m not aware of there being major issues in the past in this area, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it can only take one or two incidents of anti-social behaviour on an individual for there to be, tragically, these sorts of consequences.

“I would urge anybody with any information to contact the police as a matter of urgency so that we can make sure that the individuals who are involved are brought to justice so it can serve as a warning to others about the potential tragic consequences of their actions.”

Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab) said Mrs Moulson’s death was one of the most tragic situations he had known during his time as a councillor.

He said: “We are putting some of our ward funding towards anti-social behaviour projects and we have close working relationships with the police on that and we will be looking to see what has been done and how we can improve it.

“I’m just completely shocked – this is appalling.

“Wibsey has a significant population of older people, particularly in the smaller cottage houses in the village and they are entitled to live their lives without fear or harassment and this matter needs to be given the highest priority.

“We have been contacted by the inspector, assuring us that every effort is being made to identify the perpetrators and leave no stone left unturned to try to identify them.

“It’s just a stark reminder that one person’s anti-social behaviour can have such an appalling impact on somebody else and this is one of the most tragic situations I have ever known in my years as a councillor.”

Councillor Lynne Smith (Lab) said: “I’m deeply, deeply shocked and horrified.

“We have been working on issues around anti-social behaviour, but not directly in that area. And as it happens, we have been looking only this week at ways of developing a special project with the Youth Offending Team to do some special work on anti-social behaviour in that area, because it is something that keeps cropping up.

“It’s all to easy to not take anti-social behaviour from children as seriously as we might in general so for this to happen it is a wake-up call.

“I hope it makes people realise just how serious what might appear to some to be low-level anti-social behaviour can turn into something as dreadful as what has happened to this poor lady.

“We will have to wait and see the outcome of the police inquiries and actually have all the facts before us jumping to a judgement, but I would have to say we are, all three of us, very shocked and very concerned.”