Musician 'tried to save her lover'

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A musician, Pollyanna Peate, told a jury yesterday of her desperate attempts to revive her ageing lover after he collapsed on top of her as they were making love in the back of his car.

Mrs Peate, 34, denied assaulting Brian Phillips, a grandfather of 62, insisting: "I would not hurt him."

Chester Crown Court has heard that for 10 years the couple regularly had sex after rehearsals with the Frodsham Silver Band, in an affair they kept secret from their marital partners but which was "an open secret" among their fellow musicians.

Mrs Peate, a euphonium player, of Runcorn, Cheshire, denies the manslaughter of Mr Phillips, a bass trombonist, on the night of 15 November 1994.

The prosecution says Mrs Peate attacked Mr Phillips, striking him at least four times, after he tried to end their affair. Mr Phillips, who had a weak heart after suffering a coronary attack in 1972, died of a heart attack as a result.

Mrs Peate told the court how they sat drinking, kissing and cuddling in the front of his car for about 25 minutes before Mr Phillips got into the back and lowered the seats. "He took his trousers off while I was still in the front seat," she said. "I took my skirt off and went over."

Mr Phillips then climbed on top of her as she was lying in the back of the car. "We were making love," she said. "He collapsed. He just fell on top of me. I said something like 'Brian, what's the matter?' He wasn't responding to me talking to him. I started to hit his back while I was underneath him. There was no response."