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Prosecutor tells jury: ‘What sort of answer is that in a murder trial?’

Murder-accused Norris Simpson may have been angry with his alleged victim Ida James over money he owed her, a prosecutor alleged.

Mr Simpson is alleged to have murdered Ms James, who was his landlady, at her Paget home overnight on September 1 2011.

The 66-year-old victim — who was a retired social worker — was found in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor, having been stabbed 60 times.

Mr Simpson denies murder. However, prosecutors have called evidence during his Supreme Court trial that a fragment of Ms James’ flesh was found on a cap at his home and her DNA was found under his fingernails.

He also had a cut to one of his fingers which it is alleged he sustained during the attack.

The jury has also heard of a letter that Ms James sent Mr Simpson in May 2011 complaining that he had failed to pay for the bedroom he rented from her at a home on North Shore Road, Pembroke.

It told him that he must start paying $800 per month, saying: “I want to stress that some rent must be paid unless we agree otherwise. I can’t afford to let you stay at my house rent free. I’m unemployed and have expenses.”

Further evidence has been called from police officers who found more than $10,000 in cash scattered around Ms James’ home after her death.

The jury has heard she was a “hoarder” and the house, in Berry Hill Road, Paget, was very untidy.

Yesterday, Director of Public Prosecutions Rory Field recapped on those aspects of the evidence as he urged the jury to convict Mr Simpson of the killing.

Addressing Mr Simpson’s demeanour during his two days in the witness box, Mr Field said: “Several things happened that aren’t things you would have expected to see in a court.

“One of them is Norris Simpson, who’s on trial for his life, refusing to answer questions, even when the judge asked him. You might think that’s a bit odd.”

Mr Field suggested that Mr Simpson also gave contradictory and untruthful evidence.

“You might think Norris Simpson said two opposite things after taking an oath on the Bible and right in the face of you, the jury,” he said.

“How do you trust somebody who lies on the Bible right in your face?”

Mr Field also drew attention to an exchange that took place between him and the defendant when he was asking the defendant if he had a temper.

“He said something along the lines that he was getting frustrated with my line of questioning but he wasn’t going to come across and kill me,” pointed out the prosecutor.

“What sort of answer is that in a murder trial, to say you’re not going to come across and kill the prosecutor?”

He went on to invite the jury to consider the question: “Did he come across as a reasonable person or did he come across as somebody who could easily ‘go off on one’?”

He suggested that Mr Simpson has a temper, and that he lost it with Ms James on the night of her death because she was “quite a determined lady” who was chasing him for money.

Mr Field told the jury: “Norris Simpson is someone who might have a bit of a problem with her because she’s asking for money from him.”

He went on to suggest: “This could be a reason to have something to argue about — something to get angry about.”

Mr Field invited the jury to consider whether Mr Simpson might even have gone to the house because he knew about the large sums of money lying around, which was “very tempting” to him.

However, he advised: “The Crown doesn’t have to prove why he went up there that evening. All the Crown has to prove is that he killed her that evening.”

He urged the jury to convict Mr Simpson.

Defence lawyer Craig Attridge is due to deliver his closing speech today.

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

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Published January 30, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm)

Prosecutor tells jury: ‘What sort of answer is that in a murder trial?’

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