THE accused man in the sensational "murder without a body trial" has denied harbouring a grudge against his alleged victim for dating his ex-wife.
Entering the witness box on the 10th day of the trial, Shane Fitzpatrick admitted he was "not happy" about the relationship between David Guilfoyle and estranged wife Debbie but said his main concern was for his three children.
He told the Preston Crown Court jury: "I knew David's reputation from around Accrington. He was into dodgy dealings and counterfeit money. I knew he had been in prison and I knew he was a philanderer.
"I didn't want someone like that associating with my children. Debbie is a grown women and it's her decision who she decides to see but I wasn't happy about him having an input in the children's lives. I was concerned for my children."
Fitzpatrick, 36, of Lyndale Road, Hapton, denies murdering Mr Guilfoyle, 37, of Royds Avenue, Accrington, on or about 25 May last year.
Mr Guilfoyle has not been seen since leaving the Grey Horse pub in Whalley Road, Accrington, that evening after watching the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan, and no trace of his body has ever been found.
The prosecution alleges Fitzpatrick killed him because of his "possessive obsession" with Debbie.
In evidence Fitzpatrick said he regularly used the expression "I could kill you" and did not mean anything when he said it to Debbie in relation to Mr Guilfoyle.
He said: "I realised that who Debbie saw was up to her, not me, and I ended up telling her that. I texted her words to that effect, saying I wished them both the best of luck and hoped things went well for her.
"I had decided to get on with my life and put it behind me and look forward."
When questioned by Mr Michael Shorrock, defending, about incidents of violence before he and Debbie were married, he said he wasn't proud of it and was ashamed.
He said: "We decided to put all that behind us. We were very young when we first met and in the early stages of the relationship we were still very young and I feel that played a big part in how volatile our relationship was."
He added: "We decided to make a fresh start. We got married in 1995 and Chloe was born in 1996."
Fitzpatrick described their relationship as "very much up and down" and admitted that he had had suspicions that Debbie was having an affair with a colleague at the Acorn Lodge Care Home, Accrington, where she worked.
Angry and keen to get to the truth, he said he had arranged to meet Craig Hoyles and after the pair got into an argument he ended up punching him.
Fitzpatrick also gave evidence about:
- The night Mr Guilfoyle disappeared: He said he had worked all day and then returned home where he made tea for himself and his son Callum. They stayed in together all evening. A neighbour who said he saw them both outside wearing dark clothing was mistaken.
- The torch found outside Mr Guilfoyle's house containing his DNA: He said: "I remember being shocked when they told me about it but don't remember rocking back in my chair and putting my hands through my hair. I don't know how it got there."
- Refusing to comment during police interviews: He said he felt betrayed by the police who arrested him at this place of work, Calder Print, where he worked as a guillotine operator, after promising not to do so. He was later sacked. He was also worried about Callum after the police waited for him outside his GCSE exam and took him away in front of his teachers and friends.
- The carpet which he had replaced in the hallway and kitchen of his home after the police visited on 3 June: "It was extremely shabby and it's not a good idea to have carpet in the kitchen in the first place. It was dirty with food stains and was an old carpet. It needed replacing."
- Bloodstains found at his home: "There was a big patch of blood on the carpet near the oven from when I was opening a tin of something and the serrated edge cut my finger. Blood was pouring out of it and it made a stain on the floor.
- His missing computer: "I got rid of the computer because it was absolutely driving me up the wall. It was years and years old and it was very slow logging onto the Internet. But the final straw was it kept crashing while Callum was using it to do his coursework." He said he wasn't able to trade in the computer so he dumped it in a wheelie bin next to a computer shop he found closed in Burnley.
- Buying black bin bags: "The kitchen bin was overflowing and I needed some more so I bought a roll from the local shop."