A MURDER suspect entered the witness box today, breaking down in tears as he spoke of the 'devastating' impact of the death of his father.

Swearing an oath on the Bible, Mark Chilman denied the murder of love rival Neil Parkinson as the defence case began at Worcester Crown Court today.

Wearing jeans, trainers and an open-necked checked shirt, the 52-year-old briefly put on his glasses so he could read the oath as he was examined by his barrister, Alisdair Williamson QC.

He denies the murder of the 66-year-old, whose body was found in his burnt out car in a lay-by at Ankerdine Road, Cotheridge on December 12 last year.

Mr Parkinson, a father-of-two, had begun a relationship with Chilman's ex, Juliet Adcock.

Chilman, of Old Post Office, Pencombe, said he was born and raised in that village, completing a City and Guilds apprenticeship as a mechanic and had three sisters.

Chilman said he had worked as an agricultural mechanic and had also worked with his father to whom he was 'very close'.

"He was my very best friend to be honest with you," said Chilman.

He met Ms Adcock when she was going through a divorce and he would deliver her horse haylage. His father had also worked at her farm (Goodships in Bromyard) doing mowing, strimming, putting up fencing and general maintenance work.

Chilman told the court he moved with Ms Adcock to Giltedge Farm in around 2014 - a new build farmhouse, telling the jury that the money put into it was 'all hers'.

However, the outside buildings and other land was 'unusable to be fair', Chilman told the jury. He, his father and a workman built stables for Ms Adcock's daughter, Holly Bradshaw, he said.

The defendant said the only reason Ms Adcock bought Giltedge was 'because of me, because there was so much work to do'.

He said of his ex-partner's children that he would 'do anything for them' though he accepted he has some 'ups and downs' with Miss Bradshaw.

Chilman also said: "I'm not the sort of person to argue. I just walk away."

His mother died in 2013 and his father approximately two to two and a half years ago, he said.

When asked about the effect his father's death had upon him he broke down in tears. "It was totally devastating," he said.

Judge James Burbidge QC spoke to Chilman, telling him: "There's some tissues on the right hand side if you require them."

Chilman went on to say that he coped with his father's death 'okay' at first but 'just before the funeral I couldn't cope with it' and working on the farm without him brought back memories.

He said Ms Adcock ended the relationship in June or July last year. "Out of the blue she said 'that's it. It's all over, you're too miserable'," he said.

However, Chilman said they had split up before and he thought it was 'just a rough patch', sleeping in his van then in his workshop on her farm. Because he was 'quite a proud person' he had not wanted to return to his parents' home in Pencombe.

The trial continues.