Man on trial charged with the murder of Norwich woman Farnaz Ali
PUBLISHED: 11:08 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:33 13 September 2018
A jury has been sworn in for the trial of a man accused of murdering a woman in Norwich.
Officers were called to a flat at Godric Place, off Bowthorpe Road, on Saturday, July 29 2017, shortly before 2.30pm and the body of 49-year-old Farnaz Ali was found.
A murder investigation was launched and enquiries led officers to an address in Lowestoft, and three people - two men and a woman - were later arrested in connection with the incident.
Danny Robert Williams, 27, of Godric Place, who was a neighbour of Ms Ali, was subsequently charged with murder.
Williams appeared at Norwich Crown Court today (Monday, September 10) for the start of his trial having previously pleaded not guilty to murder.
Williams, who wore an open necked blue shirt and who has dark hair and was unshaven, looked on while a jury, who will try the case, was sworn in.
Appearing alongside Williams was an intermediary who will help the defendant understand proceedings as the trial progresses.
After the jury panel was brought up seven women and five men were selected from the panel to try the case.
After being sworn in Judge Stephen Holt told the jury that was their job to try this case and that they did so only on the evidence brought before the court.
He told them not to seek to make their own enquiries into the case outside the jury room.
Judge Holt also warned them not to discuss the case with their family or friends during the trial which is expected to last three weeks.
After the warnings and directions were issued Judge Holt sent them home until Tuesday morning (September 11) at 10am when the case will be opened by prosecutor Andrew Thompson.
Following Ms Ali’s death people living in Godric Place paid tribute to a “quiet” and “gentle lady” who is understood to be a former University of East Anglia (UEA) student who also previously helped with the Green Party.
Speaking in the days following Ms Ali’s death, a 40-year-woman, who did not want to be named, said she had known Ms Ali for years and had become friends with her.
The woman, who said she was so shocked to find out it was her, said: “She was a nice lady.
“She was actually very quiet, would keep herself to herself most of the time.”
She said they became friends after Ms Ali took a liking to her cat.
“From then on we would chat, have coffees and tea together and spend time together. She was just a nice lady. She was quiet.”
Other people living in Godric Place also paid their own tributes to Ms Ali in the days following her death.
A 36-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said: “It’s shocking to know it was her.
“This is so sad. She was friendly, quiet, not too talkative.
“I never saw her aggressive. She was a very gentle lady.”
A 69-year-old neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “She was very keen on environmental issues and helped us not to have a phone mast. She had a social conscience in that way - she had an awareness of the environment.”
An inquest into Ms Ali’s death has been opened at Norwich Coroner’s Court but it yet to conclude due to the criminal investigation into her death.