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‘A dreadful way to end a life that was so full of love and beauty and reconciliation’

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Those who loved and respected social worker Ida James are still reeling from her brutal killing, more than a year after it happened.

Speaking before the outcome of the case, which saw Norris Simpson convicted by a jury yesterday of stabbing the victim more than 60 times, Ms James’ friend Victoria Pearman said: “Most people who were close to her are having difficulty just coming to terms with the reality that she’s gone.”

Mr Simpson’s trial heard 66-year-old Ms James suffered defence wounds trying to fight off her killer.

Prosecutors suggested Mr Simpson was angry with Ms James, who was his landlady, because she was chasing him for rent money he owed.

Ms Pearman, a well-known defence lawyer, said she deliberately stayed away from the trial as she “didn’t want to know anything” about the horrific circumstances of her friend’s death.

“It just seems such a dreadful way to end a life that was so full of love and beauty and reconciliation,” said Ms Pearman, who first got to know Ms James at the age of 12, when she was a social work client of hers.

“I have tried to cope by limiting the information I take in. Some well meaning people are anxious to reach out, to commiserate.

“I find it easier for me to keep to myself and lick my wounds. I haven’t talked to a whole lot of people about it. I don’t want to talk about this.

“For this, there are no words. The natural inclination is to try to make sense out of things, and there’s no way my brain or anyone’s can make sense of this horrific, dreadful tragedy.”

Another person with fond memories of Ms James is Meredith Ebbin.

The women were contemporaries at the Berkeley Institute, and Ms Ebbin followed in Ms James’ footsteps by attending Montreal General School of Nursing in Canada in the 1960s.

Ms James later attended Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada, to retrain as a social worker.

She became the first Bermudian to do that job, and her career at the Department of Child and Family Services lasted for almost 40 years.

During that time, Ms James was instrumental in forming the Bermuda Association of Social Workers and developed a programme with Dalhousie University to provide training for other Bermudians entering the field.

Ms Ebbin — who became a journalist after leaving nursing — recalled how Ms James grew up on The Glebe Road in Pembroke as part of a large family of West Indian origin.

One of her siblings, Dr Clarence James, went on to serve as a United Bermuda Party Finance Minister.

Ms James moved to Berry Hill Road in Paget with her parents, Jonathan and Charlotte James, and cared for them in her old age. She never married and did not have children.

Ms Ebbin said: “She was a very gentle person and very caring. She certainly supported her family. I liked the fact that she took care of her parents — she lived in the house and took care of them until they passed away.”

Ms James carried on living in the Berry Hill Road house after her parents died — and it was ultimately the scene of her own demise.

Ida James
Ida James
Ida James

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Published February 02, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated February 01, 2013 at 10:24 pm)

‘A dreadful way to end a life that was so full of love and beauty and reconciliation’

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