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David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer
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Fatal hammer attack on Judith Richardson went on for minutes

THE attack which killed Judith Richardson started in her porch, ended in her hallway and went on for several minutes, a murder jury heard.

Judith Richardson and Graeme Jarman who is accused of her murder
Judith Richardson and Graeme Jarman who is accused of her murder

THE attack which killed Judith Richardson started in her porch, ended in her hallway and went on for several minutes, a murder jury heard.

Graeme Jarman is alleged to have tricked his way into the pensioner’s Hexham home then battered her to death with a hammer. Jurors were told forensic analysis of bloodstains at her flat gave investigators clues about what happened to her.

Two pools of Miss Richardson’s blood – one large and one small – were found in her hallway and in her porch near the front door.

Forensic scientist Samantha Warner told the court the presence of both clotted and unclotted blood suggested there was a time interval between the initial attack in the porch and further violence in the hallway.

Blood spatter at a low level on a radiator in her hallway suggest the pensioner was hit on the head as she crawled along towards her bedroom after the initial attack in her porch.

Asked about her conclusions as to what had happened to Miss Richardson, Miss Warner replied: “I was of the view Miss Richardson had been subjected to a violent assault within the porch and the hallway.

“The presence of unclotted and clotted blood indicated a time interval of at least a few minutes between her being struck near the front door and being struck in the hallway.”

Graeme Jarman is alleged to have tricked his way into Miss Richardson’s home on St Wilfrid’s Road, Hexham, then murdered her with a hammer.

Jurors heard the pensioner’s bedroom was in disarray when police got there, having been ransacked.

A bloodstain on a tissue in her bedroom could have come from the attacker taking it from a box with a bloodstained finger, the court heard. Another stained tissue was found crumpled in a dog bed in Miss Richardson’s bedroom, which Miss Warner said could have been used to wipe or dab wet blood.

Cotton wool found in a waste bin in the bedroom was also found to have blood on it and this had also been transferred to the bin’s lining. In the kitchen there was contact blood staining on drawers, which Miss Warner said was in keeping with someone touching the drawer with wet blood on their hands.

Jurors were also shown the bloodstained hammer allegedly used to kill Miss Richardson. Prosecutors claim Jarman stole the hammer from Beales store, in Hexham, the day before the alleged attack.

Miss Warner said: “The hammer appeared to be in good condition, it was either new or unused. The upper part of the shaft was heavily bloodstained and it was in keeping with this hammer having been used to attack Miss Richardson.”

Prosecutors also allege Jarman’s fingerprint was found on an Age UK leaflet he allegedly used to trick his way into the flat. Traces of his DNA were also allegedly found on one of the blood-stained tissues found in the bedroom.

Miss Richardson, 77, had more than 50 external injuries to her body, including 34 to the head and a number of injuries to her arms sustained as she tried to defend herself.

Jarman is accused of targeting the pensioner as she sat having lunch in her flat.

Prosecutors say he tricked her into answering her door with Age UK leaflets then battered her to the head with a hammer and stole her bag and jewellery.

Later that day Miss Richardson’s handbag was found dumped in a bin on Clayton Street, in Newcastle city centre, and when officers went to her home to investigate, they found her dead on her hall floor.

Jarman, 48, formerly of Greenways, Delves Lane, Consett, accepts he was in the area on the day but claims he just found the victim’s bag while sitting on a wall near her home. He denies murder. The trial continues.



David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer