A woman thought she was going to die after being strangled by the man accused of her murder, a jury heard today.
Patricia Henry, 46, was allegedly killed by George Metcalff, 72, known as Kenny, at a flat in Girvan, Ayrshire, on 17th November, 2017.
Prosecutors claim Metcalff attacked the mum, known as Patti, by “means unknown”.
Metcalff is also charged with attempting to defeat the ends of justice between the day of the alleged murder and 22nd February, 2018.
This lists an accusation that he did “conceal and dispose” of Patricia’s body again by unknown means.
The indictment features a number of other charges including the rape of Patti and a further three women.
The court heard from Patti’s friend Gordon Meekie, 50, who claimed he chatted with her in October or November 2017.
The witness said: “She said he raped her before and there were a couple of sexual assaults.
“Not long before she went missing, he strangled her.”
Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked what his reaction was.
He replied: “I just told her to stay away from him.”
Mr Prentice asked if Patti made the allegation of strangling and sexual behaviour more than once.
Mr Meekie said: “I just remember it in November 2017 she said he strangled her in Kenny’s house.”
A police statement Mr Meekie gave in April 2018 was put to him by Mr Prentice.
It read: “Last year, I think November, Patricia told me that Kenny had strangled her.
“She told me ‘I couldn’t breathe, I thought he was going to kill me’.
“This happened the night before she told me, I can’t remember if she had any red marks or bruises on her neck.”
Mr Meekie said Patti moved from the Paisley area to Girvan after her windows were smashed.
He claimed that Patti, Metcalff and himself did a flitting in a van from Paisley to Girvan.
Mr Meekie stated that Patti “shouted and balled” at Metcalff during the journey around midnight.
The witness said: “She was calling him a dirty old man, a beast and a rapist.”
Mr Prentice asked Mr Meekie what his own reaction was and he replied: “There was a storm and the road conditions were bad.
“I thought Kenny would have crashed the van and killed us all, that’s what I felt.
Mr Meekie further stated that Metcalff did not deny Patti’s allegations.
Under cross examination, Mr Meekie told Iain McSporran QC, defending, that Patti was known to “exaggerate.”
He also agreed with Mr McSporran’s suggestion that Patti claimed she was just “using” Metcalff.
Mr Meekie lastly told jurors that he last saw Patricia a couple of days after the flitting.
Patti’s friend Lauren Moore, 49, told jurors that she spoke to her in 2016.
She said: “Patricia said she had been drinking and fell asleep and became aware that Kenny had been trying to sleep with her.
“She told me previous to that he had raped her.”
Miss Moore’s police statement was also put to her in which she claimed she was told Metcalff touched Patricia’s leg under a duvet.
It was also stated by the witness that Patti “kept a hold” over Metcalff because of the incident.
Mr McSporran asked Miss Moore why she failed to mention the rape claim to police in her statements.
She stated: “That’s what Patricia told me.”
Mr McSporran read a segment of one of Miss Moore’s statement back to her.
It said: “Patricia has only ever told me about this incident [leg touching], she never told me about any other incident of a sexual nature.”
Mr McSporran stated: “The reason it’s not written down is because Patricia never said it and what you accepted under oath is a lie, have you come to lie to this jury?
She replied: “I’m not a liar, I just tell the truth that’s how I was brought up, I didn’t say that.”
The trial continues before judge Lord Armstrong.