A woman has described seeing a man suspected of carrying out the brutal murder of a shopkeeper more than 40 years ago.

The woman said she saw a man “shuffle” past her with bags of money on the day Carol Morgan was struck in the head with an axe or machete in her corner shop.

Her then-husband Allen Morgan, now 73, and his second wife Margaret, 74, of Woodingdean in Brighton, are accused of orchestrating the killing by hiring a hitman.

Giving evidence today the witness said she was in a phone box in Cedars Way in Linslade, Bedfordshire, on August 13, 1981, when a man caught her eye.

She stood by words given in her statement at the time. She said: "He was walking quite fast and looking about him. He was parked just outside the telephone box and I could see a dark green Ford Estate car."

The woman said she continued talking to her male friend on the phone as she watched the man, who was carrying two full plastic bags.

As he reached the bonnet of the car, parked outside 11 and 12 Cedars Way, he dropped one of the bags and she could see two or three £1 notes, a £5 note and some coins.

She said: "At this point, I said to [my friend] 'There's a bloke out here who's dropped some money'. [My friend] said as a joke, 'Knock him on the head, is he a big bloke?' and I said, 'He's bigger than you.'"

The woman described watching the man 'shuffle' with the bags as he made his way to the car.

"He reached into his right-hand pocket and took some keys on a keyring from his pocket. As the door opened he let go of both bags and pushed them into the door.

"During the course of all this, he did not stop looking around him. At this point, I had just about finished my conversation with [my friend] and turned away from the car.

"I remember hearing the car start up. I did not see him drive off."

She recognised the branded bags as similar to those available in the convenience shop.

In her description of the man, she said he was about 21 years of age and 5 ft 7 inches or 5ft 8 inches tall with a slim build. He had light brown or mousey wavy hair, cut at collar length at the back and shorter at the sides, which was "ruffled" and untidy.

The man was dressed in a white shirt, blue denims and a black belt. She did not see his footwear. She added: "I noticed his shirt was open about three or four buttons and I could see his chest.

"He had wide nostrils that I can only describe as 'pig nosed'. His mouth was wider than normal."

The woman put together a e-fit that was widely circulated by police at the time. She was also taken to a garage in Dunstable to help identify the colour of the vehicle based on available models, which she judged to be evergreen.

The trial at Luton Crown Court continues.