The grieving sons of a 79-year-old pensioner who died after being mugged in a city centre subway have paid tribute to their "kind-hearted" and "salt-of-the-earth" mother.

Margaret Whiting, from Coventry, was on her way home from collecting her pension when she was attacked and had her bag snatched on Monday afternoon.

The widow died in hospital late on Tuesday after suffering a broken hip, prompting police to launch a murder inquiry.

Today, her three adult sons released a tribute statement through police, describing the devastation their mother’s "horrible" death had caused the family.

They said: "She did not deserve to have her life cut short in such a horrible way. Her family did not deserve to lose her. We miss her.

"She was very active for her age. She was kind-hearted, lovely and very generous.

"Our mother would do anything for anyone; she was salt-of-the-earth.

"To me, my mum didn’t die, her life was taken from her."

Mrs Whiting was attacked in the subway leading from Spon Street to Upper Spon Street in Coventry at just after 3pm.

A post-mortem examination had established that she suffered injuries "indicative of a forceful attack".

Detective Superintendent Mick Treble, head of the West Midlands Police Major Investigation Unit, said officers had established that the attacker escaped on foot towards Croft Road.

It is also believed that the attacker, a white man in his late 20s or early 30s, may have been injured when a witness recovered the widow’s handbag from him in the Starley Road area.

Mr Treble said: "We now know that the good citizen who gave chase eventually caught the attacker.

"At this point an altercation occurred in an effort to recover the handbag and belongings.

"During the altercation, the attacker was struck several times to the body area in an effort to free the bag from him."

Anyone who has noticed that, since Monday, their son, boyfriend or partner has visible bruising on his body or has been complaining of pain is urged to contact Chace Avenue police station on 0845 1135000.

Police are also keen to trace a white man in a hooded top, who was riding a red coloured mountain bike in the area, who may have vital information.