Haverhill: Carer sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murdering 77-year-old with hammer

A JURY has this morning returned a guilty verdict of a Suffolk carer accused of killing a 77-year-old man.

A woman has today (Friday) has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of murdering the husband of a woman she used to care for.

Bunthawee Rimmer, 49, of Castle Lane, in Haverhill, had denied the murder of Paul Norfolk in his bed at the home they shared in December 2011.

On Friday, December 30, Mr Norfolk’s brother had called police as he was unable to contact the 77-year-old.

Officers forced entry to the house and found Mr Norfolk dead in bed with Rimmer beside him.

Mr Norfolk had suffered fatal head injuries, whilst Rimmer also had head injuries and was unconscious.

A hammer, a selection of knives and blister packs for medication were also found in the bedroom.

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Rimmer was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for treatment for her injuries and was additionally found to be suffering from the effects of an overdose. Upon release from the hospital she was arrested and was taken into police custody on December 31, last year.

Rimmer had been living with Mr Norfolk and his wife since her husband died in 2010. She had been acting as a carer for the Norfolks, but in March 2011 Mrs Norfolk was admitted to a care home and Rimmer remained in the Castle Lane house with Mr Norfolk. Mr Norfolk then changed his will to leave the property and other assets to her.

Upon her arrest Rimmer made no comment to officers about the murder but did disclose to a health worker that her injuries were self-inflicted and she claimed that she had been in an abusive relationship with Mr Norfolk.

When interviewed by psychiatrists Rimmer claimed to have been suffering from depression and to have no memory of the incident.

A post mortem examination found that Mr Norfolk died as a result of blunt force head injuries consistent with at least 12 strikes from a hammer.

On Tuesday, January 3, Rimmer was charged with murder and appeared before Bury St Edmunds Magistrates Court.

On March 16 she denied murdering Mr Norfolk at Ipswich Crown Court, and following a two-week long trial was today found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Jes Fry, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, said: “The court has heard how Ms Rimmer took the life of a much-loved brother and godfather – sadly for the family and friends of Paul Norfolk, they were not able to hear why this happened from Rimmer herself. Whilst the weapons and medication packets found in the bedroom tell part of the story, we may never know exactly what happened before Mr Norfolk’s death, though it would appear from his position that he was asleep when he was attacked. I would like to pass my sympathies to the family and friends of Paul Norfolk, and thank officers and staff for their hard work on this sad case.”

The family of Mr Norfolk released a statement saying: “Paul was the youngest of a family of four and had a happy childhood in the village of Ridgewell. We were a happy and united family. Paul was a popular and well liked member of the community.

“At 18 years old, he joined the Tank Regiment and served in the Army for three years. He was well-liked by his Army friends and was still in touch with one of them at the time of his death.

“For 30 years he was employed at IFF in Haverhill. Upon marriage he settled into his house in Castle Lane, where he was still living at the time of his death.

“Paul was a very generous, kind and sympathetic man. He was liked and respected by everyone who knew him especially by his neighbours and their children by whom he was affectionately called ‘Uncle’. He was always ready to help others.”

“His brother and I (both in our eighties) are completely devastated by the wickedly cruel way in which our gentle, loving and much loved brother was taken from us. It was a blow from which we shall never recover. Our remaining years will be spent grieving for him, who brought joy and happiness into our lives and whom we shall always remember as our dearest Paul. With all our love, Peter and Pansy.”