Man found guilty of using a hammer to murder neighbour who complained about noise
PUBLISHED: 14:50 20 September 2018 | UPDATED: 20:51 20 September 2018
A man has today been found guilty of brutally murdering a neighbour in his Norwich flat.
Danny Williams, 27, of Godric Place, Norwich, has been on trial at Norwich Crown Court accused of murdering his neighbour Farnaz Ali, 49, in July last year.
The court 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 defendant, who has learning difficulties after suffering brain damage as a child, had denied murder but a jury of seven women and five men took a little over three hours to unanimously find him guilty.
Williams, who was dressed in a blue shirt, did not react as the jury returned their verdicts.
Members of his family, including his father David Killingback and mother Kim Williams, were in the public gallery as the verdict was announced, with some bursting into tears and others calling out “Danny, love you” as he was taken down.
Judge Stephen Holt, who adjourned sentence until tomorrow morning, said there was only one sentence he could pass, that of life imprisonment, but he needed to make decisions about the starting points.
During the trial, which started last week, the court has heard that Ms Ali’s body was found in Williams’ flat in Godric Place the day after she had been reported missing by her partner Oliver Howlett.
Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, told the court the circumstances that led to the killing were “unclear” although it was apparent the victim had been concerned about loud music coming from the defendant’s flat.
He said Ms Ali went for a walk, on July 28, at about 7pm “as she was in the habit of doing and she was never to return home again”.
Mr Thompson said it was believed she was killed at some point on the Friday evening.
He said she had been “left dead or dying” on the floor of the defendant’s bathroom as he left the address to go to visit friends in Lowestoft, who he would later tell about the murder, prompting one of the calls to police.
Mr Thompson said there’s evidence that Williams “struck her repeatedly to the head with a blunt implement and we say the implement that caused those injuries was a hammer.”
Medical evidence also showed there had been “compression of her neck” as well as other signs of assault on her body.
The pathologist found 59 separate sites of injury to Ms Ali’s body.
The court heard Ms Ali had been reported missing by her partner at about 9.30pm on Friday, July 28 after she failed to return from her walk.
Williams had been playing “loud music” with the windows open in his flat on the Friday afternoon which is something the jury heard had troubled the victim.
Mr Thompson said Ms Ali had “earlier in the afternoon expressed some concern to her partner about the noise from loud music that was coming from the defendant’s address and it was something that he knew that on at least one previous occasion had been a concern before.”
On Saturday, July 29 police received a 999 call from the defendant’s father to say there was “a female seriously injured or dead” on the bathroom floor of Williams’ flat.
It followed a call from the defendant’s mother - who had been contacted by Williams - about the incident.
Just minutes later police in Suffolk received a 101 call from a friend of Williams to say the defendant had told him there was the body of a woman in the bathroom of his flat.
Police and paramedics attended Williams’ address in Godric Place and found Ms Ali’s body in the bathroom.
The defendant was later arrested and subsequently charged with murder.
Williams, who is said to have drunk 24 bottles of beer as well as a cider on the day of the killing in addition to cocaine, had suffered brain damage as a child and had learning difficulties.
The defendant chose not to give evidence himself during the trial.
Psychiatrists giving evidence on behalf of the defence described how what happened might have been a result of his “abnormality” and the “frenzy” which led to Ms Ali’s death demonstrative of a “loss of control”.
But Dr Philip Joseph, a forensic psychiatrist, giving evidence for the prosecution, said he accepted that Williams suffered from a medical condition but insisted it was due the jury to decide in terms of “how badly was he affected by this condition”.
Williams had never given an account of what happened to Ms Ali, although when interviewed by Dr Joseph in prison, the defendant said that the victim had knocked on his door.
Williams said he invited her in and offered her a cup of tea but she “stepped into his face” over the loud music he had been playing.
Williams told Dr Joseph he then pushed Ms Ali who fell into the bathroom.
He said that was the last thing he could remember.
TIMELINE OF MURDER
The court heard Farnaz had gone out for a walk around 7pm after complaining about noise coming from Williams’ flat. When she failed to return home from her walk a few hours later, she was reported missing by her partner.
Officers attended and enquiries were carried out into her disappearance.
Around 8pm, Williams took a taxi from his address to a flat in Windsor Road in Lowestoft where he spent the night. During the evening he disclosed to others that he’d murdered a woman and that her body was still in the bathroom of his flat.
The court also heard how during the evening a fire was lit in the rear garden of the address where an attempt was made to burn a bag which Williams had brought with him to the Lowestoft address. The bag contained various blood stained items including clothing and a piece of carpet, which he had cut from his living room at Godric Place.
Later that evening Williams and two others friends drove to the Denes Oval area of Lowestoft, where he disposed of a hammer. This was later recovered by police and was believed to have been used in the attack on Ms Ali.
At around 2.30pm the following day (Saturday, July 29) one of these friends became so concerned he reported what Williams had both said and done to the police.
Shortly afterwards at around 2.45pm Norfolk Police received a further call reporting a concern for the safety of a woman at flats in Godric Place. Officers subsequently forced entry to the address where the body of Ms Ali was discovered on the bathroom floor.
Williams was arrested half an hour later at 3pm along with a 20-year-old woman and a 41-year-old man and all three were taken into custody for questioning.
Williams was charged two days later with murder and was remanded in custody. The man and woman were released without charge.