It was a bizarre and terrifying incident on a Sunday afternoon in suburban Werrington in far western Sydney when neighbours in a block of units heard a commotion and found a woman lying in the stairwell.

It was about 4.30pm and the 30-year-old woman appeared to have been stabbed and set alight on an upper level of the block.

None of the neighbours knew who she was and no one was able to save her.

Noleen Hayson Pal, a Fijian Indian, Muslim and the mother of two young children, lived 30km away and had just been visiting the flats where she was to die.


Police and paramedics arrived on the scene and later on the afternoon of April 21, 2013, Noleen Pal was pronounced dead.

Detectives would later identify Ms Pal as the estranged partner of Iranian-born Australian Man Haron Monis.

Monis had been living on his own for several months at the Werrington flats after Ms Pal reportedly threw him out of the granny flat at her parents' house.

The couple had argued and Ms Pal had become concerned over Monis' increasing aggression and paranoia as he descended into Islamic fundamentalism.

Seven months after Ms Pal's death, police arrested Monis, 49, and a 34-year-old woman during a vehicle stop in south western Sydney.

Detectives charged the woman, Amirah Droudis, a hairdresser, with Ms Pal's murder.

They charged Monis, who was living at the Werrington flats at the time, with accessory before and after the fact of murder.

News reports noted that he was sometimes referred to as Sheikh Haron.

Both Droudis and Monis were granted bail the following month by Sydney magistrate William Pierce, who said the Crown's case against them was weak.

In March 2014, Monis was also charged with the unconnected sexual and indecent assault of a young woman.

Seven months later, in October 2014, a further 40 charges were laid against Monis arising from his western Sydney practice as a "spiritual healer".

Monis spent some time in custody, but was granted bail.

On December 15, 2014, he entered the Lindt Cafe in Martin Place with a sawn off shotgun, and died 17 hours later when police shot him, ending the Sydney siege.

At the time of the siege, Monis had been living in a flat in Wiley Park, 3km from where Droudis lived with her family in a house where Monis had dwelled for a time.

In the immediate aftermath of the Lindt Cafe siege, police raided the Belmore house Droudis shared with her parents and her brother.

No charges were laid against Droudis. In August 2015, she was ordered to stand trial for Noleen Pal's murder.

Police allege that Droudis stabbed Ms Pal almost 20 times in the back, and poured fuel on her and set her alight.

A subsequent hearing heard there was a "strong" circumstantial case against Droudis, including the description of the alleged killer - a chubby-faced woman of middle eastern appearance wearing a burka - being similar to Droudis.

Droudis will stand trial for the alleged murder of Ms Pal on August 15 in the NSW Supreme Court.

The trial, which will be a judge-only hearing, is set down for two months.