MURDER TRIAL: Elderly shopkeeper struck over head while she was bleeding on the ground, court told

Storm Blueitt, 36, is alleged to havehit Judith Ducker over the head repeatedly while she was behind the counter at Wellgate News at around 11am on September 1 last year, before making away with around 40 from the till.
Storm Blueitt, 36, is alleged to havehit Judith Ducker over the head repeatedly while she was behind the counter at Wellgate News at around 11am on September 1 last year, before making away with around 40 from the till.

During an attack carried out at the shop she worked at, a 64-year-old cancer patient was struck over the head with a weapon several times while she was bleeding on the ground, jurors in a murder trial have been told.

Storm Blueitt, 36, is alleged to have hit Judith Ducker over the head repeatedly while she was behind the counter at Wellgate News at around 11am on September 1 last year, before making away with around £40 from the till.

Terminal breast cancer patient, Ms Ducker, died 50 days later on October 20, and the Crown allege the serious head injuries she suffered in the attack meant she was not able to have essential cancer treatment that would have extended her life.

Blueitt, of Cambridge Crescent, Rotherham is standing trial for one count of murder and one of robbery in relation to the incident.

Senior forensic scientist Michelle Walton told Sheffield Crown Court she believed blood spatters analysed from the scene of the incident at the shop in Wellgate, Rotherham show Ms Ducker would have already been bleeding and on the ground when she was hit over the head.

Ms Walton, who has worked in the field for 20 years, said: "The findings are in keeping with Judith Ducker being struck while she was lying on the floor behind the shop counter."

When asked by prosecution barrister Richard Thyne whether she would expect Ms Ducker's assailant to have splatters of blood on their shoes and the bottom of the trousers, Ms Walton said it would be entirely dependent on their position at the point of impact.

She said it was therefore possible that the assailant not to have any traces of blood spattering on their footwear.

The court was told how the trainers Blueitt, formerly known as Paul Rodgers, was wearing on the date of the alleged incident were not found to contain any traces of Ms Ducker's blood.

However, forensic scientist Madeleine Satterwaite said a footprint left on the counter top matched Blueitt's left trainer - in terms of the shape of the shoe, the pattern on the sole and where parts of the sole had worn away.

Ms Satterwaite said she could not conclude that the print definitively matched Blueitt's trainer due to missing parts of the print, but added this could be as a result of scratching on the surface of the counter.

Blueitt denies one count of murder and one count of robbery.

The trial continues.

Leeds-based Phoenix Dance is heading to China

Leeds-based Phoenix Dance to promote Yorkshire as a cultural powerhouse in China