Murder trial told of man's love for wife

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The Independent Online

A man accused of blackmailing and bribing his best friend to murder his wife claimed yesterday that she was the "central platform" of his life.

A man accused of blackmailing and bribing his best friend to murder his wife claimed yesterday that she was the "central platform" of his life.

Colin Harrold, 35, of Uffington, Lincolnshire, said he and his wife Diane, 36, were soulmates who did everything as a team. "I would say we were one of the closest couples I knew," he told Nottingham Crown Court. Mr Harrold, who denies murder and conspiracy to murder, was giving evidence for the first time. He is accused of blackmailing his best man from a previous marriage, Darren Lake, to kill Diane, his second wife, by dumping her body in a swimming pool.

Lake, 31, of Peterborough, has admitted carrying out the killing - for which he claims Mr Harrold offered him £20,000 to pay off debts as well as threatening to reveal photographs of him being raped on holiday if he did not perform the murder.

The court was told yesterday that Mr Harrold met his second wife through a lonely hearts' column when she was lecturer in nursing at a college inCambridge. She gave up work and spent £30,000 from an inheritance to buy a beautysalon, while Mr Harrold paid £9,000 for stock and a training course for his wife.

He told the court he had set up two companies which were going from strength to strength when he was arrested, and denied rumours that his wife's business was losing money and "bleeding him dry".

"The way that I was able to achieve what I had was because I had a strong woman beside me, guiding me," he said.

He admitted having a brief affair last year, but said: "The last thing I wanted to do was hurt Diane."

The trial continues today.