Summoned by his wife, Nepalese tenant crashed on the way to the scene

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  • Dev Kumari Maharjan (left) and her husband Dipankar Maharjan were the first people to discover their landlady Ida James had been murdered, and called for help. They are pictured leaving the Supreme Court trial of Norris Simpson, another of the victim’s tenants, who is accused of the murder.

    Dev Kumari Maharjan (left) and her husband Dipankar Maharjan were the first people to discover their landlady Ida James had been murdered, and called for help. They are pictured leaving the Supreme Court trial of Norris Simpson, another of the victim’s tenants, who is accused of the murder.
    (Photo by Mark Tatem)

  • Police officers at Ida James’ home on Berry Hill Road, Paget, after she was found murdered. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

    Police officers at Ida James’ home on Berry Hill Road, Paget, after she was found murdered. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

  • Photo by Mark Tatem
Off duty police inspector Robert Cardwell helped a panicking man who had discovered the dead body of murdered senior Ida James.

    Photo by Mark Tatem Off duty police inspector Robert Cardwell helped a panicking man who had discovered the dead body of murdered senior Ida James.


A Nepalese man told a jury of the “panicked” moment that he tried to report a murder to 911 — but the operator could not understand his broken English.

Dipankar Maharjan was alerted to the slaying of 66-year-old Ida James by his wife, Dev Kumari Maharjan. The couple rented a room in Pembroke from Ms James.

Mrs Maharjan found their landlady stabbed to death when she visited her home on Berry Hill Road, Paget, on the morning of September 2, 2011 to pay rent money (see main story).

She called her husband, who drove to the scene — getting into a bike crash and injuring himself on the way.

Norris Simpson, a 54-year-old man who rented a room from Ms James in the same home as the Maharjans, is on trial at Supreme Court accused of the killing.

Giving evidence yesterday, Mr Maharjan told the jury that as he hurried to the scene after his wife’s call, he fell off his bike on Corkscrew Hill.

He arrived at the home with his face bleeding from the crash, and looked through Ms James’ door to see her body on the floor.

“The door was open and I stepped in the door and then I saw some of the blood on the walls and I saw her legs — not her whole body,” he told the jury.

I called ‘Ms James, Ms James’ and nobody answered. Then I went back and called emergency 911.”

Speaking in heavily accented English — but without the aid of a translator who was in court to assist if necessary — Mr Maharjan continued: “I was a little bit panicked when I spoke to 911. Whatever I say, they don’t understand.

“I told them my landlord was lying down in the house but I didn’t know the road name. I was panicked. I went to the road to stop a car to ask the name of the road because 911 really doesn’t understand.”

The car he flagged down was the private vehicle of an off-duty police inspector, Robert Cardwell, who was travelling with his young son.

In his evidence, Insp Cardwell told the jury: “I was in a line of traffic which had slowed. They were negotiating around a man who was frantically waving his arms at the side of the road. I stopped.

“He had blood on his face. He asked me what the name of the road was. He was speaking in broken English but I could understand him.

“I told him it was Berry Hill Road and he had a cell phone up to his ear. He appeared to be talking to somebody on his cell phone.

“He thrust his cell phone into my vehicle and asked me to speak to the person on the phone.”

When he did so, Insp Cardwell realised it was one of his colleagues — a police constable in the Communications and Operations (Comm Ops) Centre, which deals with 911 calls.

The man who flagged the inspector down told him his landlady was in a pool of blood and pointed towards Ms James’ house.

Insp Cardwell said he then got out of his car and accompanied the man into the yard.

He looked through a door to see the victim on the floor, blood smears on the kitchen cabinets and noted “an odour which I associate with death”.

Insp Cardwell told his colleague at Comm Ops to send an ambulance and officers from the Serious Crime Unit to the scene.

Mr Simpson denies murder, and the case continues.

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