A woman has been charged with murder after an elderly man was found dead at his South Coogee home just before Christmas.

Officers said retired solicitor Peter McCarthy, 77, suffered severe head injuries inside his home on Elphinstone Road on December 20.

Detectives arrested Mr McCarthy’s neighbour Narelle Smith on Monday, who lived in the unit block next door.

The 46-year-old told 9 News as she was being taken away by police that she had nothing to do with the murder.

“I didn’t do this,” she told the network.

“Peter was my friend, I was there on my birthday.”

Ms Smith was taken to Maroubra Police Station and charged with murder and dishonesty to obtain financial advantage by deception.

Danny Doherty, the Homicide Squad Commander Superintendent did not give any further details on the relationship between the suspect and the victim, but said: “there is very significant forensic and physical evidence to make this a strong and compelling case.”

Police will allege robbery was one motive. “But we don’t want to narrow ourselves to one motive, and that will be part of the case against the woman,” he said.

Police will allege in court it was a “combination of physical violence” that killed Mr McCarthy.

Mr McCarthy’s family have been told about the arrest and are feeling “mixed emotions”, according to Superintendent Doherty.

“They have just gone through Christmas without a father and a grandfather and it’s at a point where any arrest is welcome,” he said.

“They’re still getting over the grief of losing Peter but they are thankful for the police inquiries to date and also the community’s help.”

Ms Smith will appear in Waverley Local Court on Tuesday.

This article originally appeared on Over60.