THE partner of a man 'murdered' by her 'obsessed' ex gave evidence behind a screen, saying she felt intimidated by the 'bad-tempered' handyman.

Mark Chilman, 52, denies the murder of Neil Parkinson whose body was found in his burnt out car in Ankerdine Road, Cotheridge, near Worcester.

The 66-year-old had suffered a head injury before he was set alight in the passenger seat of his black BMW X5 on December 12 last year in what the prosecution say was a murder staged by Chilman to look like a suicide.

Juliet Adcock, a mother-of-three, gave evidence at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday. She said when she had last seen Mr Parkinson before he headed home to Clifton from her farm in Broadwas he had been 'happy' and 'excited' about a Spa day they had booked for the following day.

The witness told the jury she was divorced in 2009 and met Chilman because his father used to do work on the farm for her ex-husband. Chilman helped her around the farm 'much more' after her divorce, living with her first at Goodships Farm in Bromyard and then at a new build at Giltedge Farm in Broadwas. She said she had been in a relationship with Chilman for 10 years.

She she said paid the bills and that Chilman contributed 'some food' and his time and accepted he was 'busy about the farm'. However, she said their relationship began to deteriorate and she noticed a 'moodiness' in his manner. "He became just miserable, bad-tempered, didn't want to spend so much time with me and started arguing with my daughter, Holly" she said.

Ms Adcock told the jury he had moved out 'seven times' since they had been together.

"We had split up several times and he had come back again" she said.

"He has moved into the spare room of his own accord. When I had asked him to leave several times he would sleep in his van on my property or in a shed or in my garage."

He moved out in the summer of 2020, taking his dogs and clothes although she said he left clothing and equipment on the farm. "I tried to remain kind, civil, be as nice I possibly could to back away from the relationship" she said.

She said Chilman 'threatened suicide' and was sending messages like 'farewell, you will never see me again'.

"I didn't want to be horrible to him but then I wanted to move on with my life. There was no way I was going to resume a relationship," she said.

Ms Adcock described Chilman as having a 'difficult nature'. She added: "It's fair to say I was a bit intimidated by him and I was always trying to keep the peace."

He would return to the farm, saying he needed to pick up some tools and when she told him to take away his stuff 'he would say he had nowhere to put it'.

Her relationship with Neil Parkinson began because they had a shared love of gardening after he did some work for her. She said an intimate relationship began in April 2019 but they had been friends before this.

Ms Adcock took photographs of a noose and sledgehammer which she said Chilman had left on the farm. When asked why she had taken the photo she said she did so out of shock.

"I thought Mark was going to hang himself. I sent it (the photo) to his family, to his sister Julie" she said.

Ms Adcock also described how Chilman wrote messages to her in lipstick on two mirrors at her home, one on the bedroom mirror and the other on an ensuite bathroom mirror.

One read: "I love you forever. I'm sorry, more than you ever know. Love Mark xxx."

The trial continues.