THE son of a frail pensioner found murdered in his own home today said he was helping police find his dad’s killers as he recovered from being stabbed himself.
Ross Simpson was knifed less than 24 hours before his 67-year-old father Robert’s body was found in his Armadale home with fatal head injuries. Detectives are probing whether the attack on Mr Simpson’s son is linked to the murder of the retired plasterer, who was found dead by his daughter Kay at 9pm on Saturday.
Friends of Mr Simpson – also known as Ronnie – said that his ex-wife, Cathy, had told them the house had been ransacked and there was “blood all over the place”.
Police officers had knocked on Mr Simpson’s door in Mayfield Drive at around 11pm on Friday following reports of a disturbance, but they left without speaking to him after he failed to answer and there were no signs of trouble. Just ten miles away in Polbeth, West Lothian, at around 10.45pm that night, the pensioner’s 31-year-old son was attacked.
Speaking at his home, Ross Simpson, whose face was badly cut and bruised, said his family were grieving for their loss.
He added: “It’s a difficult time. I’ve spoken to the police and they are handling it.”
Neighbours in Polbeth Crescent said his house and garden were taped off by police following the attack.
John Watson, owner of Coppies bar in South Street, Armadale, which Robert Simpson frequented three or four times a week, said: “I found out on Saturday night when someone texted me to say there had been a murder. Then someone came in and said it was Ronnie. We were all shocked. Ronnie’s ex-wife was in here on Sunday and she said there was blood all over the place and his house was ransacked.
“I’ve known Ronnie since I was a boy. He didn’t keep the best of health. He was thin and frail and always walked with his crutch.”
Mr Watson added: “Ronnie liked crosswords or having a chat with whoever was in the pub. He would go to the bookies next door for a bet on the horses. The last time I talked to him was on the Monday and he seemed fine. He had a win on the horses, £100 or so, and treated himself to two double whiskies to celebrate.”
Detective Superintendent Bob Cowper said: “Officers received reports of a disturbance close to 11pm on Friday. They attended at Ronnie’s address a short time later. They tried to make inquiries at his address and with neighbours, but there was no sign of an ongoing disturbance and the officers stood down.” Det Supt Cowper added that the attack on Mr Simpson’s son was part of the investigation. He said: “It’s another avenue that we are exploring. Any incident involving a member of Ronnie’s family will be looked at. This has been a violent and brutal attack on a defenceless pensioner who was too frail to defend himself.”
Police said that the last confirmed sighting of Mr Simpson was at his home on Wednesday, although there had been other unconfirmed sightings.
A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “I saw Ronnie on Thursday morning at about 10am. I noticed him because he normally walks with a crutch but he was using a walking stick which was too big for him.”
Following the attack on Ross Simpson, two men from West Calder appeared in court charged with assault, but both men made no plea or declaration. A 24-year-old was remanded in custody while a 28-year-old was released on bail.