A woman who was killed in her shop rang her cousin to say her husband had been having a long affair just two weeks before her murder, a jury heard.

Carol Morgan, 36, was killed by a hitman allegedly hired by her husband and his lover on the evening of August 13, 1981.

The killer, who has never been caught, used an axe or machete to attack her in the storeroom of Morgans Food Fare in Finch Crescent, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire before escaping with cash and cigarettes.

The prosecution at Luton Crown Court alleges that Allen Morgan, now 73, and his second wife Margaret Morgan, now 75, who both live in Brighton, had “a passionate, but forbidden and adulterous love affair” and hatched a plot to kill her.

The couple, of Stanstead Crescent, Woodingdean, deny conspiracy to murder the mother-of-two.

In a statement read to the jury today Carol’s cousin Pamela Smith said: “On the day of Princess Diana’s wedding Carol rang me and told me Allen was having an affair with a neighbour. She couldn’t believe it. She said it had been going on for a long time.

“I had been watching the royal wedding when she rang. They (Allen and Carol) had only been married for four years. I was not aware of any worries.”

Ms Smith, who is now aged 83, said Carol attended a Gingerbread group for single parents in Swindon after her first husband Richard Curtis had left her for another woman.

She said Carol met Allen at the group. When the couple moved from Swindon to Linslade Allen asked her to pay the removal men. “Allen did not have any money. I thought it was strange, but I did pay them,” she said.

Ms Smith described Carol as “a lovely, very pretty girl”. She went on: “Carol was a really good mother - her children came first.”

The Argus: Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Margaret and Allen Morgan appearing at Luton Crown CourtCourt artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Margaret and Allen Morgan appearing at Luton Crown Court (Image: PA)

The jury heard a statement from Carol’s uncle, and Ms Smith’s father, George Wilkins. who died in February 2000, aged 84. He said Carol had phoned him three weeks before she was murdered to say things weren’t going well in her marriage to Allen, but Allen wanted to give the affair up.

Read more: Man and lover accused of hiring hitman to kill wife who died in brutal attack

“She said Allen wanted to make a go of things (with Carol),” the statement said.

“She said since they discussed the matter things had got better. She had been to the Citizens’ Advice Bureau and had arranged an appointment for a marriage guidance counsellor. She hoped Allen would attend at a later stage.”

But in a second statement on August 20, 1981, six days later, Mr Wilkins said Carol felt she was “fighting a losing battle.” He said: “She said Allen was never in the shop and was always making excuses for being out at night.”

Earlier, the jury was played secret police recordings of conversations between the couple when they were being taken in for questioning in 2019.

Margaret was heard to say “shush”, indicating she thought they were being taped. He said: “I am sorry” and “I don’t want to say anything because they might have…..”

Two years later on July 1, 2021, he was recorded as asking her: “Do you still love me?” and “I trust you forever.”

Then, on July 25 last year, as they were travelling again to the police station, he said: “I am sorry. I haven’t done anything.”

Margaret said: “Stop going over it. They are probably listening in.”

Allen said: “I ain’t done nothing. Neither of us have. I don’t know what they have got.”

She replied: “Well they must have something.”

Prosecutor Pavlos Panayi KC said: “The defendants planned and agreed the murder of Allen’s  first wife Carol. They were tied to each other. Each with the power to bring the mutual destruction of a criminal prosecution on each other. There was an unbreakable bond based on their joint responsibility for the killing of Allen Morgan’s former wife.”