Man accused of murdering partner in Colton dies in Norwich prison

Diane Douglas, of Colton, near Norwich, who police believe has been murdered. Picture: Norfolk Police

Diane Douglas who was found dead at a property in Colton on November 3. - Credit: Norfolk Police

A man accused of murdering his partner and burying her body in the garden of their Norfolk home has been found dead in prison.

Stuart Williamson, 56, was awaiting trial for the murder of Diane Douglas.

Her body was found last November by police searching the grounds of the home they shared in Colton, near Norwich. Days earlier, police had arrested Williamson in Wales.

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.

Their investigation last autumn was triggered when her family finally reported her missing.

Murder investigation at Meadow Farm Colton, body found which is believed to be victim Diane Douglas.

Police search Meadow Farm in Colton for Diane Douglas. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

Police today confirmed that Williamson, of Barford Road, Colton, had been found dead in his cell at HMP Norwich on December 29, 2021.

He had been on remand since November, awaiting his trial which was due to take place later this year.

Detectives from the Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team launched a murder investigation before the body of Ms Douglas was found, after family members reported her missing on October 21, 2021.

Her relatives told police they had not seen her for a “significant period of time”, having lost contact for a number of years. The family members reported her missing after renewed attempts to get in touch with her failed.

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Williamson was arrested in Wales nine days later and brought to Norfolk for questioning.

Murder investigation at Meadow Farm Colton, body found which is believed to be victim Diane Douglas.

Police search Meadow Farm in Colton for Diane Douglas. - Credit: Brittany Woodman

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.

Human remains were found at the Barford Road address.

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

At the time of her death, in 2018, Ms Douglas would have been aged 55 or 56

A Home Office post-mortem was unable to establish the cause of death.

A hearing was scheduled at Norwich Crown Court, with a file to be prepared on behalf of the coroner.

Before the body was found police had been treating the case as a “no body murder” investigation and had hoped to find Ms Douglas alive.

The investigation shocked villagers who were unaware it was even taking place.

One jogger said at the time of the investigation: “I haven’t seen anything in the village, no police or nothing, but to think there’s a murder investigation happening on your doorstep is rather creepy.”