A HANDYMAN accused of murdering his former partner's new man was dubbed 'the lay-by lurker' by her daughter before the alleged killing took place.

Mark Chilman denies the murder of Neil Parkinson, 66, who was found dead in his burnt out car in Cotheridge, near Worcester after the alarm was raised when neighbours spotted the fire.

Holly Bradshaw was called to give evidence today (Tuesday) in the trial of the 52-year-old who is accused of the murder of Mr Parkinson on December 12 last year.

The prosecution say Chilman of Old Post Office, Pencombe, Bromyard staged the fire in the car to make the murder look like a suicide. Mr Parkinson would have been rendered unconscious by a blow to the back of the head which caused a depressed fracture to the back of his skull. Blood was found on the farm gate at Giltedge Farm, Broadwas which was a DNA match to Mr Parkinson.

Miss Bradshaw said her mother, Juliet Adcock, had lived with Chilman for around 10 years but that the relationship had begun to deteriorate.

She said of Chilman: "We never really hit it off or had much of a relationship."

Miss Bradshaw, a university graduate, described Chilman as 'standoffish and difficult to form a relationship with' but that she felt she had given it 'a good try'.

She said it was not that she did not get on with Chilman, but felt 'a bit of resentment from Mark'.

"I'm not really sure why that was" she told the jury. In her evidence she referred to him as a 'jealous person' and that he had not taken the end of the relationship with her mother well.

The relationship between Chilman and her mother began to deteriorate and she would ask him to leave Giltedge Farm in Broadwas and he would collect his stuff.

However, she said he would make 'threats of suicide' and that 'mum was very worried about his state of mind'. Miss Bradshaw said Chilman would stay in an outbuilding on the farm which served as his workshop and in a garage.

She would come across him in the in the vicinity of the farm 'lots of times' and would see him in his pick-up on the lane near the farm. "You coined an expression for him?" said Mr Heywood, prosecuting.

"We used to refer to him as the lay-by lurker and say he was lurking in the lay-by again," said Miss Bradshaw. She said she began to feel 'uneasy' and 'unnerved' when she would see Chilman and would contact her mother, telling her he was nearby. Chilman slowed down his car in the weeks before Mr Parkinson's death and 'glared at her'.

Miss Bradshaw said of Mr Parkinson: "I loved Neil. He was kind, generous and helpful - the polar opposite of Mark."

She said she had seen Mr Parkinson on the night of his death. "Did Neil seem unusual in his mood or his behaviour?" said Mr Heywood.

"No, he was happy and cheery, his usual self" said Miss Bradshaw. She said she and husband Tom had been going to Worcester to pick up a pizza and had seen Mr Parkinson's car as he headed back to the farm with his own takeaway from the New Inn in Clifton.

As they left to get the pizza, Miss Bradshaw said she saw Chilman's Mitsubishi on the lane near the farm. She said she could not be '100 per cent' it was Mark as it was dark and because of the glare of the headlights but was '100 per cent sure it was his car'. The man she saw was of 'similar stature' to Chilman and she said he 'turned his face down so that I couldn't clearly see '.

Miss Bradshaw said she either phoned her mother about it or asked her husband to do so before they carried on to Worcester.

The first she knew of Mr Parkinson's death was a phone call from the police at her home in Martley at 1.30am.

"They asked me if I could come back to Giltedge because mum was quite distressed. That made me distressed. I asked 'why, what had happened?' The police officer informed me that Mr Parkinson had gone missing."

The trial continues.