Haverhill murder trial carer: ‘I have done a bad thing’

Bunthawee Rimmer
Bunthawee Rimmer

A carer accused of murdering a Haverhill pensioner told a friend that she had “done a bad thing”, a court has heard.

Bunthawee Rimmer, 49, did not give any further details while being visited in prison following her arrest and claimed to be unable to remember what had happened.

She has denied the murder of Paul Norfolk, 77, who was found dead in bed at his home in Castle Lane, Haverhill on December 30 last year.

A jury at Ipswich Crown Court has heard how Mr Norfolk was lying in a pool of blood with blood splattered on the wall and ceiling after being struck on the head with a claw hammer 12 times as he slept.

Despite the injuries eventually proving fatal, it is believed Mr Norfolk may have lain unconscious for up to 15 hours before his death, said prosecutor Andrew Jackson.

Mr Jackson described the attack as “deliberate, brutal and sustained.” At no point did Rimmer seek help for Mr Norfolk.

The court has heard evidence from beauty therapist Ratchanok Kemp, a friend of Rimmer’s who had visited her in prison. Miss Kemp said: “She didn’t seem herself. She said she couldn’t remember what happened.”

Rimmer, who is following the proceedings through a Thai interpreter, said she had tried to swallow bathroom cleaner because she had “done a bad thing”, said Miss Kemp. She had tried to keep in touch with Rimmer to help her because she could not read or write English.

On more than one occasion before Mr Norfolk’s death, Rimmer had contacted her to ask for a massage because she was tired, in pain and unhappy, Miss Kemp told the jury, but Rimmer had not followed up those requests.

Earlier the court heard a statement from legal executive Sarah Furlong who was asked by Mr Norfolk to amend the terms of his will to exclude his wife Esme, who has dementia and is being cared for in a residential home, from inheriting his house in Castle Lane, where they had lived for 40 years.

Instead the will was changed in favour of Rimmer, allowing her to inherit the house and much of Mr Norfolk’s estate. Mr Norfolk did not have any children and told Ms Furlong that his wife was losing mental and physical capability.

“You may think money played a rather important role,’’ Mr Jackson told the jury. ‘’Whether or not she killed him for his money only she knows.’’

He added: ‘’She did it by raining blows on to his head using a 16oz claw hammer. He did not move, he did not struggle.”

Rimmer, whose husband Geoffrey died from natural causes in 2010 aged 77, had moved in to care for Mrs Norfolk before she moved to a care home and then stayed on because she had nowhere else to go.

Ms Furlong said: “He thought the world of this lady and seemed to have a genuine affection for what she was doing.”

Care home manager Ann Curley said in a statement read to the court that Mr Norfolk had seemed very resentful about having to pay £2,790 a month for his wife’s care.

She said Mrs Norfolk never seemed to resent the presence of Rimmer.

When the case opened, Mr Jackson told the jury that there was no dispute about Rimmer having killed Mr Norfolk. She claimed to be suffering from a type of depression which had impaired her thinking and amounted to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

When police found the body of Mr Norfolk they also found, huddling in the same bed, Rimmer who had attempted to cut her own throat and swallowed bathroom cleaner and anti depressant tablets.

It is alleged that Rimmer had told a psychiatric nurse after her arrest that she had been in an abusive relationship with Mr Norfolk and claimed he had forced her to act as a masseuse to other men.

Mr Norfolk, a retired foreman, had been best friends with Geoffrey Rimmer who had worked with him at IFF in Haverhill. Both had travelled to Thailand in the 1990s where Mr Rimmer had met the defendant who later married him.

The trial continues.

For all the latest news see Thursday’s (July 12) Echo.