The jury has retired in the trial of a former TV producer on The Bill who is accused of asking three potential hitmen to kill his partner of 27 years.

David Harris, 68, allegedly offered around £200,000 to get rid of Hazel Allinson in a fake mugging or car jacking before his arrest in November last year.

Over five years, Harris blew tens of thousands of pounds of Ms Allinson's retirement savings on expensive gifts for Ugne Cekaviciute after meeting her in a brothel, Old Bailey jurors have heard.

The prosecution asserted he planned the killing of his life partner to get his hands on her £800,000 home in the upmarket village of Amberley and spend the rest of his days with Ms Cekaviciute.

In February last year, he allegedly approached tyre fitter Chris May, who rather than carrying out the hit tried to warn Ms Allinson, jurors have heard.

Harris was then put in contact with 6ft 3in tall Zed - real name Duke Dean - who reported him to City of London Police.

The potential hitman "Chris" was an undercover officer who taped his meeting with Harris in a Sainsbury's car park as the pensioner told him: "Whatever happens, it's got to be fatal."

Reformed alcoholic Harris has denied three charges of soliciting murder.

He has told jurors Ms Allinson was his soulmate and he would never want any harm to come to her.

His discussions with Mr May, Mr Dean and the undercover officer were research for a murder mystery thriller he was planning to write to get out of his financial trouble, he said.

The jury was sent out to begin deliberating on verdicts this morning.