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Forensic Pathologist Ida James fought with her attacker

Murder victim Ida James suffered defence wounds in a struggle before her death, Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Forensic pathologist Dr Chitra Rao said Ms James, 66, suffered 60 stab wounds to her torso — some of which penetrated her liver, kidney and lungs.

She died of blood loss after the attack, which prosecutors say occurred overnight between September 1 and September 2 2011.

Her body was found in the kitchen of her Paget home in a pool of blood when one of her tenants called on the morning of September 2 to pay rent money.

Another tenant, Norris Simpson, 54, of Pembroke, is on trial at Supreme Court accused of the murder, which he denies.

The jury has heard that the victim’s DNA was found in scrapings taken from under his fingernails following his arrest.

In evidence yesterday, expert witness Dr Rao said the victim suffered a “blunt force injury” to the top of her head. She said this is associated with “a blow by a blunt object, or if a person falls or strikes against a blunt object such as a floor, table or wall”.

She said the stab wounds were to the front, side and back of the victim’s torso, and she had abrasions to both forearms and injuries to the back of her right hand and right palm.

Asked by prosecutor Cindy Clarke whether any of the injuries could be described as defensive, she replied: “Most of those to her arms were defence injuries which is when a person tries to protect a part of their body that someone is going to attack.”

She continued: “Definitely there had been a struggle between both parties.”

She said this was evidenced by “linear abrasions” on the victim’s torso.

“These are (caused) when the tip of the knife slips when withdrawing or thrusting — when the person moves and the knife causes a linear abrasion on the body.

“When you see that, you know that there had been a struggle.”

In answer to further questions from Ms Clarke, she said that all the injuries suffered by the victim appeared to have occurred before her death.

“There was a struggle, so she didn’t die immediately,” she added.

Dr Rao said she believed a “single edged” weapon caused the wounds. She said the police described to her knives seized from the defendant’s home.

She indicated to police that there was not a match, but told the jury she had not been shown any knives or photographs of them.

She also spoke about what Ms Clarke described as “a microscopic speck of tissue which had the DNA of Ida James on it”.

According to defence lawyer Craig Attridge, this was found on a cap at Mr Simpson’s residence.

Dr Rao described it as “fatty and connective tissue” which could have been dislodged and fallen on the attacker, ground or a wall.

The doctor went on to tell the jury about a “cutting wound” found on Mr Simpson’s “baby finger” during a medical examination after his arrest.

She said it was “in keeping with being caused by a pointed weapon such as the tip of a knife or a tip of broken glass. Anything pointed and sharp.”

She added: “The wound looked fresh a recent wound. He would have sustained the wound within a day — a maximum of two.”

Cross-examining the witness, Craig Attridge took issue with the expert’s repeated suggestions to the jury that the cut to Mr Simpson’s finger was caused by a knife.

He suggested that she could not tell the jury it was caused by a knife — and could only say it was caused by something with a sharp edge, which many objects have.

She replied: “The type of wound is something I would see caused by a knife or something with a sharp edge.”

She asked Mr Attridge to suggest what it could have been other than a knife, but he replied that it is not a defence lawyer’s job to answer questions.

The case continues.

Norris Simpson is led into Supreme Court One, covering his face, on Thursday. He is accused of murdering social worker Ida James.

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Published January 19, 2013 at 10:34 am (Updated January 19, 2013 at 10:33 am)

Forensic Pathologist Ida James fought with her attacker

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