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Norwich murder trial jury told loss of “self-control” could have contributed to frenzied killing

PUBLISHED: 17:37 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:37 18 September 2018

Police at the scene of the property in Godric Place in Norwich. Picture Emma Knights.

Police at the scene of the property in Godric Place in Norwich. Picture Emma Knights.

Archant

A court has heard that a loss of self-control could have contributed to the murder of a Norwich woman in a neighbour’s flat.

Scene at Godric Place. PIC: Peter Walsh.Scene at Godric Place. PIC: Peter Walsh.

Danny Williams, 27, of Godric Place, Norwich, is on trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of murdering his neighbour Farnaz Ali, 49, in July last year.

The court has heard the body of Ms Ali, who had 59 injuries after being attacked with a hammer, was found in the bathroom of a flat belonging to Williams on July 29 2017.

The court has heard that Williams, who is said to have taken drink and drugs on hand day of the killing, had suffered brain damage as a child and had learning difficulties.

The jury of five men and seven women heard this afternoon (Tuesday, September 18) evidence from defence witness Dr Utpaul Bose, a consultant forensic psychiatrist.

Farnaz Ali. (Facebook with permission)Farnaz Ali. (Facebook with permission)

Dr Bose was asked by Jonathan Goodman, defending, whether he thought what happened had been as a result of “his abnormality”.

Dr Bose said: “Yes”.

He said it was not to do with the taking of drugs or alcohol, but “the mental abnormality, the brain damage”.

Dr Bose said there may have been an misunderstanding about either threat or the level of threat after Williams was spoken to about the loud music he was playing.

He said that as a result of Williams’ health problems - his brain damage, his cerebral palsy, his learning difficulties - he had a problem with self-control.

Mr Goodman asked if the “frenzy” which led to Ms Ali’s death was demonstrative of a loss of self-control.

He said: “Yes, that’s actually evidence of loss of control.”

The court also heard from Dr Philip Joseph, a forensic psychologist, who appeared as a prosecution witness.

He said it was accepted that he suffered from a medical condition.

Dr Joseph said the question was how severe it was and that was something the jury would have to decide in terms of “how badly was he affected by this condition”.

Earlier the jury were told by Judge Holt that it was for the defence to establish a defence of diminished responsibility on behalf of the defendant.

Mr Goodman was asked by Judge Holt if his client had been advised that the time had come when “he could give evidence to the jury if he chooses”.

Mr Goodman indicated that he had been but stated his client would not be taking to the stand to give evidence in the case.

Judge Holt asked Mr Goodman if Williams had been advised that if he chose not to give evidence the jury might draw inferences from his decision not to give evidence.

Again Mr Goodman said his client was aware.

Mr Goodman started the defence case by calling Dr Lisa Wootton, a psychiatrist who had prepared a report following Williams’ arrest.

Giving evidence, the psychiatrist said that Williams had suffered brain damage at birth which had affected his “cognitive functioning”.

She also said he had a learning difficulty as a result and also had cerebral palsy.

Mr Goodman asked Dr Wootton if, at the time of the murder, whether the defendant was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning.

She said he was.

Dr Wootton said that Williams’ disorder “impacts on his ability to exercise self control”.

She said Williams had a long history of behaving aggressively related to his “mental disorder”.

Mr Goodman asked the witness if Williams’ abnormalities were significant in terms of his ability to either process information or exercise self control.

She replied: “I think they are significant yes.”

Earlier in the morning the court heard the end of the prosecution case against Williams.

Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, read out a statement made by acting sergeant Daniel Coles which describes how at shortly before 3pm on Saturday, July 29 last year he was called to Windsor Road, Lowestoft.

He had information that Williams was wanted by police on suspicion of murder.

Acting sergeant Coles described how Williams was standing on the road, holding a phone in his hand.

Officers got out and Williams was told to put his hands on his head and get on his knees.

After being arrested on suspicion of murder Williams made no reply.

The court heard the defendant was searched at just after 3.05pm and among the items found on him was a blue key fob with an address on it with “red spots” on it.

Mr Thompson said the spots were blood and led to the item being put in an evidence bag.

Williams has denied murder.

The trial continues.

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