Man accused of murder refuses to appear in court

Police remain at the scene in Appleard Crescent, Mile Cross, after the body of Mark Franklin was discovered on April 29.

Stephen Grimwood refused to appear at Norwich Crown Court after being charged with the murder of Mark Franklin in Mile Cross - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

A man accused of the murder of a 58-year-old in Norwich has refused to appear in court.

Stephen Grimwood, 63, was due to appear at Norwich Crown Court on Monday (May 16), having been charged with the murder of Mark Franklin, 58, at his home in Mile Cross.

Police remain at the scene in Appleard Crescent, Mile Cross after the body of Mark Franklin was discovered on April 29.

Stephen Grimwood refused to appear at Norwich Crown Court after being charged with the murder of Mark Franklin in Mile Cross - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archant Norfolk

But the defendant was absent from the preliminary hearing with Judge Alice Robinson told by Chris Youell, prosecuting, he had "declined" to be produced in court.

Mr Youell urged the court to set a timetable for the trial, which he said was expected to last two weeks.

Judge Robinson set a provisional trial date for September 7 with a plea and trial preparation hearing pencilled in for July 26.

Police remain at the scene in Appleard Crescent, Mile Cross after the body of Mark Franklin was discovered on April 29.

Stephen Grimwood refused to appear at Norwich Crown Court after being charged with the murder of Mark Franklin in Mile Cross - Credit: Peter Walsh, Archanr Norfolk

Andrew Oliver appeared in court on behalf of Grimwood, from Shipfield in Norwich.

There was no application for bail.

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As previously reported, a murder probe was launched after police were called to a home in Appleyard Crescent, Mile Cross, following reports of a sudden death on April 29.

The body of Mr Franklin was found inside. 

A Home Office post-mortem later concluded he had died due to serious head wounds.

Neighbours spoke of their shock following the death of Mr Franklin with tributes describing him as "ever so friendly" and a "nice guy".

A 75-year-old man who lives in the area but who wanted to remain anonymous paid an emotional tribute to Mr Franklin.

He said: "It's come as a shock, a real shock.

"I was shocked and angry when I found out.

"He was always passing here on the way to the shop.

"He was one of the best.

"I've known him since he was a little lad.

"I've been up here 59 years and I've known his mum and dad ever since they lived there.

"His parents died four or five years ago.

"I haven't got a bad word about him at all - he was ever such a nice guy.

"He was always willing to help people."