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Lover who denies murdering former girlfriend tells court he 'loved her to bits'
A jilted lover accused of murdering his former girlfriend at her country cottage told a court how he "loved her to bits”.
Phillip Brown denies smothering Deborah Levey, 44, at Cherry Tree Cottage in East Ashling, near Chichester.
He told jurors at Lewes Crown Court how their relationship hit a rocky patch after having talked about getting married and having children together.
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He said: "I loved her to bits. I couldn't imagine spending a day without her."
The body of Ms Levey, a care scheme manager, was found just after 7.15am on January 28 last year by a colleague who was picking her up for work.
Her body was covered by a blanket with love bites on her neck and her mobile phone at the bottom of a goldfish tank.
The court previously heard the victim had told friends that Brown had a "Jekyll and Hyde" character.
Speaking in his defence, he said he was "angry and annoyed" at being accused of her murder, saying he was not at her home on the day she was killed.
The jury heard about text messages he sent her before she was found dead, in which he said he "hoped she would die".
He said there was "no excuse" for sending the texts to her, saying they were "worst thing I could have ever done".
Brown also admitted anonymously emailing her employer, falsely accusing Ms Levey of breaching a confidentiality agreement a month before she died.
Asked to explain why he had sent the email, Brown said: "I can't really explain the reasons. I was angry and upset about the whole state of our relationship.
“I was just devastated that I even sent something like that to damage her career.
"I mean, she was brilliant at her job.”
During questioning from defence counsel Sam Stein QC, Brown conceded he had pocketed £10 after agreeing to pawn some of Ms Levey's jewellery on her behalf.
He told jurors he felt he was being "tested" so he in turn "tested" her.
"There were a lot of trust issues in our relationship and basically it was just a tenner," he said.
Brown, in his mid-40s and from the Selsey, denies murder.
The trial continues.