THERE was high drama in court when Accrington's sensational "murder without a body" trial opened this week.
Shane Fitzpatrick, 36, is alleged to have killed wealthy businessman David Guilfoyle because of a "love triangle" involving his ex-wife Debbie.
The prosecution at Preston Crown claimed Fitzpatrick had a "possessive obsession" with Debbie who had formed a relationship with Mr Guilfoyle, 37, of Royds Avenue, Accrington.
Mr James Goss told the jury: "He was driven by the strongest of emotions, love for Debbie and hate for the man she was now with."
Mr Guilfoyle has not been seen since leaving the Grey Horse pub in Whalley Road, Accrington, after watching the Champions League final between Liverpool and AC Milan on 25 May last year.
Police launched a murder inquiry after finding "significant" bloodstains at the front of his £230,000 bungalow and on the driveway and path.
But no trace of his body has ever been found.
The courtroom drama came when mum-of-four Debbie, of Hill Street, Baxenden, took to the stand as a prosecution witness - and contradicted statements she had earlier made to the police.
She said she had been put under "extraordinary pressure" by officers and she did not think her ex-husband was capable of killing her boyfriend.
She agreed Fitzpatrick had told her: "He has stolen you off me and I feel like killing him" but said it was "a throwaway comment, not meant as a threat."
She also played down Fitzpatrick's alleged violence towards her before their nine-year marriage, though she agreed he had accused her of having an affair with a work colleague at Acorn Lodge Care Home, Accrington.
And Debbie testified SHE had lent Mr Guilfoyle a torch while he was doing work on his car but had later forgotten about it. The torch, which contained Fitzpatrick's DNA, was found on top of a hosepipe at the side of Mr Guilfoyle's house, and was the main piece of forensic evidence detailed in the prosecution's opening statement.
The court heard that in a letter to her ex-husband while he was on bail awaiting trial, Debbie said: "The police were extremely negative about you and were convinced from the word go you were responsible."
She added: "They were just hell-bent you were a suspect."
The jury also heard that Mr Guilfoyle was a "wheeler dealer" who sold illegally-imported cigarettes, copied DVDs and counterfeit clothing. Friends said he often kept up to £30,000 in his home and had lots of enemies.
He had another girlfriend, Adele Walton, while after his disappearance Debbie slept twice with his best friend Neil Bennett.
Fitzpatrick, a guillotine operator, of Lyndale Road, Hapton, denies murder. The trial, which is expected to last four weeks, continues.
- SEE inside Friday's Observer and read more about this sensational murder trial.