Chiangrai Times – Paul Norfolk, 77, was found dead in his blood-splattered bed at his home in Castle Lane, Haverhill, Suffolk, when police entered the house on December 30, 2010 prosecutor Andrew Jackson told Ipswich Crown Court. Alongside him police found the badly injured defendant, Bunthawee Rimmer.
Less than three months before his death, Mr Norfolk had changed his will to leave his house and most of his money to Rimmer instead of his wife, who was in a care home.
Rimmer, 49, originally from Thailand and who claimed she was in a relationship with Mr Norfolk, is alleged to have beaten Mr Norfolk to death as he slept. She denies murder.
Mr Jackson said Mr Norfolk had lain injured and unconscious but alive for 15 hours following the attack. Rimmer did nothing to seek help, he added.
”You may think money played a rather important role,” Mr Jackson told jurors. ”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.
”He was probably asleep when he was murdered.”
After the alleged attack, Rimmer drank toilet cleaner, stabbed herself in the chest, slashed her own throat and swallowed tablets, the prosecutor added.
When interviewed by police, she claimed she had begun a relationship with Mr Norfolk and said he had been abusive towards her.
Rimmer, also known as Pacer, had moved into Mr Norfolk’s home in late 2010 to help care for his wife, Esme, shortly after the death of her husband, Geoffrey Rimmer.
Mr Rimmer, who died from natural causes, was a close friend of Mr Norfolk and the pair had travelled to Thailand regularly during the 1990s.
Mr Rimmer met the defendant in Thailand and she moved to the UK before marrying him in 1998.
Mr Jackson told the court that Mrs Rimmer had inherited her late husband’s pension but his family had wanted her to move out of the marital home, also in Castle Lane.
At his funeral, Rimmer is said to have told family members she had ”three men” interested in her and one ”lived up the road” – a reference, the prosecution said, to Mr Norfolk.
Within months Rimmer had moved into Mr and Mrs Norfolk’s home and began caring for Esme, who survives her husband. Mrs Norfolk had suffered a stroke and the early onset of dementia, the court heard.
Rimmer remained in the home after Mrs Norfolk moved into residential care.
Mr Norfolk first changed his will in early 2011 to leave his house to Rimmer and then again in October 2011 to leave her any cash left in the estate.
A solicitor, Sarah Furlong, had raised concerns about Mr Norfolk’s capacity to make decisions over his estate but later agreed to make the changes, the court heard.
All of his assets, apart from small sums left to family members, were to go to Rimmer.
Shortly before his death Mr Norfolk transferred a sum of money to a Thai bank account, Mr Jackson said.
”He was not seen alive again,” he added.
Mr Jackson told jurors: ”You will hear claims that she was suffering from some form of mental illness, some form of depression, at the time.”
But he added: ”This was a quite deliberate, brutal and sustained attack – at least 12 blows with that hammer which would have taken some time.”
Mr and Mrs Norfolk had lived in their Castle Lane home for more than 40 years and had no children.
Mr Norfolk and Mr Rimmer had worked together at a fragrance manufacturing company in Haverhill. The pair began travelling to countries including Thailand, Vietnam and Burma after the death of Mr Rimmer’s first wife.
The case is expected to last up to three weeks.