The son of a murdered Coventry pensioner has branded her killer a "spineless coward".

Margaret Whiting, a 79-year-old widow, was mugged in a subway on her way home to Meadow House in Spon End in the city after collecting her pension last Monday.

At about 3.10pm, she was robbed by a man in the subway linking Spon Street to Upper Spon Street, where he snatched her handbag, causing her to fall to the ground.

She was taken to hospital with serious injuries including a broken hip but died the following day.

Yesterday, accompanied by his wife Tracy at a press conference at the West Midlands Police headquarters in Birmingham, Mrs Whiting's son Peter urged witnesses and anyone with information to contact the police.

He said: "My mother did not deserve this. She was one of the loveliest people. She was kind, she was charitable, she was honest and decent.

"The spineless coward who did this to her could have just asked for the money and she would've handed it over."

Appealing to the public, he said: "It was my mother last week, it could be your mother next week. Any information you have, please, please come forward.

"I think it was pointless. He is going to go to jail for an awfully long time and he has gained nothing from it, and sadly we have lost our mother from it.

"I don't think I can put into words exactly how I feel at this moment. My family has fallen apart and I just want him caught.

"Her attacker is a spineless coward and he needs to be caught. The sad thing about it is somebody out there is sheltering this person and it is just not right."

Describing his mother, who retired 19 years ago after working as a school dinner lady, he added: "She was a very sprightly woman considering she walked with a stick. Mentally, she was a very tough woman and lived there for many years.

"I wasn't particularly comfortable with her living where she did but she was among her friends. I am only just realising how popular she was."

Detective Superintendent Mick Treble, of West Midlands Police Major Investigation Unit, said the pensioner died as a direct result of the attack.

He said it was believed the attacker, a white man his late 20s or early 30s, may have been injured when a witness chased after him and recovered Mrs Whiting's handbag in the Starley Road area.

Det Supt Treble said the most vital piece of information so far had come from a Crimestoppers caller, who had named two men who may have been involved in Mrs Whiting's attack. He urged the caller to come forward.

The descriptions of the two men were last night being compared with CCTV footage from the scene.