Retired social worker was stabbed 60 times jury told

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  • Norris Simpson is led from Supreme Court One, covering his face. He is accused in the killing of retired social worker Ida James.

    Norris Simpson is led from Supreme Court One, covering his face. He is accused in the killing of retired social worker Ida James.
    (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

A tenant who owed money to retired social worker Ida James murdered her in her home by stabbing her 60 times, prosecutors allege.

The body of Ms James, 66, was discovered in a pool of blood on the floor of her Berry Hill, Paget, home by another of her tenants.

Norris Simpson, 54, went on trial at Supreme Court yesterday accused of committing the murder — which he denies.

According to Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field, DNA evidence links him to the slaying.

Mr Field explained during his opening speech that Mr Simpson is believed to have killed the victim overnight between September 1 and September 2, 2011.

He was one of several tenants who rented rooms from Ms James in one of the properties she owned — a three-bedroom apartment on North Shore Road, Pembroke. Ms James was retired and lived alone.

He described her home as “very untidy” because she was “a hoarder” who kept cash “dotted about her home in a haphazard manner”.

Mr Field went on to suggest: “There was a lot of cash in the house, which may have created interest for anyone who wanted to steal it,”

He told the jury that the day before the murder was discovered, Ms James visited her North Shore Road property to collect rent from the tenants, which she did on the first day of each month.

A Nepalese couple who lived there gave evidence yesterday, explaining that they did not have the rent money at the time.

When the wife visited Ms James’ home around 8.30am the next morning to deliver the cash, she discovered her dead body on the kitchen floor in a pool of blood, and called her husband.

He alerted the emergency services and ran out onto the road to flag down a passing car — which happened to have an off-duty police inspector in it (see second story).

“A number of items were knocked over in the kitchen area and there were blood stains which he [the inspector] took to mean a struggle had taken place,” said Mr Field.

A post-mortem examination showed Ms James suffered “somewhere in the region of 60 stab wounds”. Mr Simpson, who the prosecutor described as someone who “owed Ms James money”, was arrested over the crime.

When scrapings were taken from under his fingernails during a medical examination, the victim’s DNA was found in the scrapings, according to Mr Field.

“He was also observed to have several recent abrasions on his face,” added the prosecutor. “During the investigation it was found that the defendant owed Ms James money.”

The first witness for the Crown was the victim’s nephew, Charles James of Smith’s.

Mr James described his aunt as being in good health apart from arthritic knees, which she recently had surgery on. According to Mr Field, Ms James worked as a social worker for around 40 years.

Her nephew told the jury: “She was a cheerful person, very willing to help people, very much involved in the social work of Bermuda.”

Mr James explained during his evidence that when he cleared out her house after her death, he found approximately $1,700 in cash in her car and kitchen.

Det Con Hannah Brackstone of the Forensic Support Unit told the jury she found around $10,000 in the home during the investigation.

The case continues.

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