A Halifax fell-runner accused of murdering his love told a court today the real killer must have tried to frame him by burying her in a shallow grave on moorland which he knew so well.
Adrian Muir, 51, had been seeing grandmother Pamela Jackson, 55, after they met on a dating site but their relationship was rocky, a court has heard.
The drystone-waller was charged with her murder after she disappeared from her home in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, in March.
Her body was discovered 120 miles away on moors above Halifax in May - while Muir was held in custody.
His trial at Newcastle Crown Court, where he denies murder, has heard his phone was tracked to the area of the grave on the night she vanished, and that a fingerprint of his was found on a bag containing flowers left on her body.
Muir, who said he knew “every inch” of Soyland Moor where he had been a beater on grouse shoots, mountain biked and ran, denied he was the man responsible.
He said footage of police searching an area of moorland had appeared on the TV news, which may have inspired the real killer to bury the body there later.
Andrew Robertson QC, prosecuting, said: “The implication must be that someone else has deliberately chosen a site that would implicate you in the murder?”
Muir replied: “That’s the only thing I can think of.”
The defendant said that his fingerprints would be on many of the plastic bags in Ms Jackson’s home, as he did a lot of shopping.
He bought his lover some flowers and left them on the coffee table in her house, he claimed, and said the killer must have taken the flowers and a carrier bag to bury with the body.
Mr Robertson added: “It’s another unfortunate coincidence that this other person, whoever they may be, has not left any of their prints on either of the bags - the only discernible print is yours. That’s very bad luck.”
Muir replied: “It’s one big bad luck. It’s terrible.”
In an earlier exchange, Mr Robertson said to Muir that he murdered his girlfriend after losing his temper then decided to kill himself.
“The assault on her was so violent that she suffered a double fracture to her skull and brain damage,” Mr Robertson said. “You murdered her and you were full of remorse and you wanted to kill yourself.”
Muir replied: “That’s ripped my heart out to (hear you) say that.
“I am an innocent man. For you to say that is destroying me. I would never, ever do that. I have never harmed anyone in my life.”
He insisted he loved Ms Jackson, who he said had a split-personality due to her having bi-polar disorder.
The trial continues.