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Woman’s murder may be tied to recent break-ins

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A 65-year-old woman is understood to have been murdered by an intruder who broke into her home in Paget.

Ida James, who lived on her own, was found dead at her Berry Hill Road home by a member of the public at about 8.30am yesterday.

The Serious Crime Unit has launched a murder investigation and is appealing for information about anyone who may have spotted someone acting out-of-character or trying to “dispose of any clothing or articles”.

Ms James’ murder comes after a spate of burglaries at homes on Berry Hill Road in the last couple of weeks.

Detectives yesterday viewed the footage from CCTV cameras of nearby residents to try to piece together the last movements of Ms James.

It is understood they are looking for a man, who could be homeless, who has been spotted loitering in the area.

Ms James, who was not married and didn’t have any children, was the first Bermudian graduate social worker from Dalhousie University. She joined a team of expatriate contemporaries, working as a social worker for Government all her life.

Ms James, who retired last year, was also an original member of the Bermuda Housing Corporation. She attended St Paul AME Church and used to sing in the gospel choir. She was murdered less than a week after she helped brother Clarence James celebrate his 80th birthday party.

Retired surgeon and politician Dr James, a former United Bermuda Party MP and Finance Minister, said: “She was a wonderful sister, we spoke every day on the phone. She had a wonderful family and we were all together on Saturday evening for a family party”.

Ms James’ unresponsive body was found by a member of the public who flagged down an off-duty police officer.

Paramedics from King Edward VII Memorial Hospital attended the scene and she was certified dead by an on-call doctor. Police cordoned of the large detached property yesterday with about eight uniformed and plain-clothed officers standing on guard. Three forensic officers in their white hooded-boiler suits, gloves and face masks could be seen combing the inside of the house for clues.

Forensic officers and undertakers removed Ms James’ body from her home at about 3pm.

Neighbours said Ms James kept to herself but would always say hello when she saw them.

She was described as a very active senior, who enjoyed gardening and loved to go for early morning cycle rides around the area.

One woman said: “It’s so disturbing that this has happened.

“She’s always lived there on her own and didn’t bother anyone.

“She was a lovely lady, but she wasn’t a stay at home type, she was quite active and was always out and about”.

Another nearby resident said: “There’s been a spate of break-ins at houses round here.

“Two houses were broken into just last week. When they want to get in, they get. This is truly awful, it’s very sad”.

A police spokesman would not reveal the extent of Ms James’ injuries or why her death was being treated as a murder.

He would only say: “Officers from the Serious Crime Unit are investigating this as a case of murder.

“Detectives are interested in hearing from any members of the public that may have seen anyone or anything out of the ordinary on Berry Hill Road, Paget, or its environs, between 4pm on Thursday, September, 1 and 8.30am Friday, September, 2. “Detectives are particularly interested in speaking with any person who may have seen anyone in the area under suspicious circumstances.

“Detectives are keen to hear from anyone who has witnessed someone acting out of character, who became furtive or was attempting to dispose of any clothing or articles, to come forward.”

One Bermuda Alliance leader John Barritt described the murder as “deeply troubling” and sent his condolences to Ms James’ family and friends.

He said: “I want to call on the public to fully cooperate with police if they know any information about this.

“This underscores once again the need for us to be the eyes and ears of the community and to assist police with their inquiries”.

The murder investigation is being led by Det Insp Jerome Laws and he can be contacted at 247-1265.

Alternatively, members of the public can leave information anonymously on the independent Crime Stoppers hotline at 800-8477.

Two senior Police Detectives are seen at the home of former Government Social Worker Ida James on Berry Hill Road, Paget yesterday after the 65-year-old?s body was found by a neighbour. A Police spokesman said last night the neighbourhood had reported several break-ins in recent weeks and were looking for a man seen in the area.
Police officers cordon off a residence on Berry Hill Road, Paget after a woman was found dead. Detectives and members from the forensic unit were conducting there investigation throughout the day. (Photo by Tamell Simons)
Police officers cordon off a residence on Berry Hill Road, Paget after a woman was found dead. Detectives and members from the forensic unit were conducting there investigation throughout the day. (Photo by Tamell Simons)
Police officers cordon off a residence on Berry Hill Road, Paget after a woman was found dead. Detectives and members from the forensic unit were conducting there investigation throughout the day. (Photo by Tamell Simons)
Police officers cordon off a residence on Berry Hill Road, Paget after a woman was found dead. Detectives and members from the forensic unit were conducting there investigation throughout the day. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

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Published September 03, 2011 at 9:00 am (Updated September 03, 2011 at 8:12 am)

Woman’s murder may be tied to recent break-ins

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