A pair of grieving brothers yesterday paid tribute to their 81-year-old mother who was murdered in her home last week.

Mohinder Kaur, who had been suffocated, was found gagged at her flat in Nutgrove Close, Kings Heath, on August 25.

Police revealed yesterday that the widow had been robbed of more than £1,000 worth of gold jewellery. The body of the frail grandmother was discovered by a member of her family after she had been robbed of 22 and 24-carat Indian gold rings, bangles and chains, West Midlands Police said.

Mrs Kaur's son, Santogh Singh, aged 50, yesterday appealed for information that would help catch her killer. He said: "We are deeply saddened and traumatised by what has happened to my mother. She was a very happy person well- known to all the community in the area. She was not only a mother to us but to most of the people who knew her in Birmingham.

"I would like to appeal to the public, please, please help us. Come forward if you have any information at all that

can help the police." Kirpal Singh, Mrs Kaur's other son, read a statement in Punjabi in which he called on people to help police with the inquiry to help give his mother's soul "some peace".

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Bimson, who is leading the inquiry, said he thought it was a random attack, but added that he would not rule out the possibility it could have been carried out by someone who knew her.

"She was well known," he said. "It's possible. She would ask people to carry bags for her. A number of people have come forward saying they had done that.

"She could have just happened upon someone and this is the result of that."

He also said he could not rule out whether the attack was carried out by more than one person.

He described Mrs Kaur, who was known to her family as Shanti, as a frail lady. The detective also said that while Mrs Kaur's English was poor, she was sociable and popular. He said: "Our inquiries paint a picture of a lady who was well known in the area."

Detectives are still attempting to piece together what happened at Mrs Kaur's flat, as the door had not been forced open - it was left unlocked.

There were no signs of a break-in but police are looking into the possibility someone had tricked or sneaked their way in and attacked Mrs Kaur after she disturbed them.

Det Chief Insp Bimson said the attack was "very rare" for the Kings Heath area, and re-assured the public that it remains a safe place to live.

A post mortem revealed Mrs Kaur, who had five children and a number of grandchildren, died from suffocation.

The pensioner, who was hard of hearing, was last seen alive in nearby Albert Road on the evening of Friday August 24, leaning against a wall in Albert Road, a short walk from her home.

Police are awaiting the results of forensic searches which have been carried out at the flat. A number of items have been removed for tests, however, Det Chief Insp Bimson would not go into detail about these.

More than 40 officers are working on the case which has shocked neighbours in the close, off Middleton Road.

Anyone with information can call the West Midlands Police Major Investigation Unit on 0845 113 5000.