Man accused of partner's murder 'took own life'

 Diana Douglas, 58, has not been seen for a "significant period of time."

The case of a man accused of the murder of Diane Douglas (inset) has been discontinued after the death of her partner and murder accused Stuart Williamson. - Credit: Archant / Norfolk Police

The case of a man accused of murdering his former partner has been discontinued after he 'took his own life' while on remand in prison.

Stuart Williamson, 56, was accused of killing Diane Douglas between December 1 and December 31, 2018, when she would have been 55 or 56.

Police at Meadow Farm near Colton which is the centre of a murder investigation.

Police carrying out investigations into the murder of Diane Douglas in Colton last year. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Williamson had been due to stand trial in April having been accused of murder and was set to appear at Norwich Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on January 14.

But the defendant was found dead in his prison cell at HMP Norwich at about 5pm on December 29, 2021.

At a crown court hearing on Tuesday (February 8) Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said the matter was listed for 'discontinuance' after Williamson's death.

Mr Spence said: "An inquest is pending regarding the cause of death but it would appear he took his own life whilst on remand at Norwich Prison."

The case was formally discontinued by Judge Anthony Bate ahead of a full inquest due to be held at Norfolk Coroner's Court at a date to be fixed.

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It emerged Williamson died as a result of hypovolemic shock due to self-inflicted neck wound at an inquest which was opened and adjourned in Norwich.

The body of Ms Douglas was found in November last year by police searching the grounds of the home they shared in Colton, near Norwich. 

Days earlier, police had arrested Williamson, of Barford Road in Colton, in Wales and he was charged with murder.

Norfolk Police launched a ‘no body’ murder investigation after inquiries found Ms Douglas had not been seen for a “significant period”.

Officers believe Ms Douglas was killed in December 2018, but that Williamson then pretended she was still alive by using her phone to send out messages to people.

The police investigation was triggered when her family finally reported her missing on October 21 2021.

Police forensic teams arriving at Meadow Farm near Colton as part of a murder investigation.

Police forensic teams arriving at Meadow Farm near Colton as part of a murder investigation. - Credit: Simon Parkin

Then, after extensive searches of Williamson’s home address, the body of Ms Douglas was recovered on November 3.

The search saw detectives from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team hunt around Meadow Farm, where she went missing from, and at a property on Barford Road in Colton.

Forensic searches by police officers at the address centred on an area of the garden near to a summerhouse at the edge of woodland.