Family and friends of Andrew Wragg, 38, told Lewes Crown Court that he was a wonderful father who worshipped his children, Jacob, who had a degenerative disease, and George.

The court heard how despite Jacob's deteriorating condition, Wragg had an "amazing" relationship with the ten-year-old.

The defendant denies murdering Jacob at the family home in Henty Close, Worthing, on July 24 last year.

Wragg, a former SAS soldier, admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, claiming he took Jacob's life in a mercy killing to end the boy's suffering.

Wragg yesterday finished giving evidence at a retrial in the case, saying he felt what happened to Jacob was the "best thing".

Philip Katz, QC, prosecuting, asked the defendant what he had meant when he told police on the night of Jacob's death that it had been a mercy killing.

Wragg replied: "I felt it was the best thing that could happen to Jacob and I believe Jacob believed that too."

Mr Katz also questioned Wragg about whether or not his wife Mary, mother to both Jacob and George, knew about what he intended to do on the night of the killing.

Wragg claimed earlier that he had told his wife that he planned to take Jacob's life, and that she had replied "Why wait?".

Yesterday Wragg told the court: "I have put my hands up to taking my son's life.

"I am not going to start lying about petty things like that. It makes no difference whether she said those things or not, I am not going to start lying to make life difficult for Mary.

"She is still the mother of George and someone needs to look after him."

Mr Katz said: "I suggest this was a decision that you made and was more to do with you and your position at that time than considering Jacob and his life."

The court heard from a former girlfriend of the defendant. Shelley Ansell said Wragg clearly loved his children.

She said: "He loved spending time with them. Jacob doted on his father.

"Jacob was very affectionate but more to Andy than anyone else. He really was a loving father."

The defendant's brother, Christopher Wragg, said the defendant had an "amazing" relationship with Jacob.

The trial continues.