LONDON: The 47-year old Zahid Naseem has been charged with murdering a woman found dead after she failed to turn up for her own birthday party.
Christina Abbotts’ body was found at a flat in Highams Hill, Gossops Green, Crawley, at about 22:30 BST on Friday. Concerned friends had raised the alarm when Ms Abbotts, who was in her 20s, could not be contacted. Zahid Naseem from Elm Close, Amersham in Buckinghamshire, appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court accused of killing Ms Abbotts.
He nodded as magistrates told him he would be remanded in custody to appear at Lewes Crown Court on Wednesday. Maria Slater, prosecuting, asked for the case to be sent straight to a crown court because the nature of the allegation was so serious.
Naseem, who knew Ms Abbotts, was arrested at the flat in the Gossops Green area where she had been living, police said. Dressed in grey jogging bottoms and top he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and his address.
Naseem has lived in the private road, set in a conservation area in the Buckinghamshire village, for at least five years. He is not believed to have any children but has been with his partner for several years. A post-mortem examination found the preliminary cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, a Sussex Police spokesman said. Christina Abbotts, who had missed her own party with friends that night, had been due to celebrate her 29th birthday with her family on Sunday, her heartbroken mother said. She was discovered lying dead in her flat after she failed to turn up at her birthday celebrations and concerned friends raised the alarm.
Police rushed to the flat in the Gossops Green area of Crawley in West Sussex and found her body on Friday night. The IT worker’s tearful mum Pirkko Hanna paid tribute to her as ‘a beautiful daughter’ and ‘my best friend’, saying: ‘My life will never be the same again.’ Zahid Naseem is due back in court by video link to enter a plea on July 16.
He is expected to stand trial for up to seven days from December 10. Cases of this nature are often presided over by a High Court judge, the court heard. Anyone with information should contact police quoting Chr Operation Grayhill.