A man accused of murdering a missing woman told police she left him in the “s*** with money”.
George Metcalff said he feared Patricia Henry had done a “runner” amid claims she owed him a four-figure sum.
The 72 year-old added he had “no idea” where she was as he was quizzed by police probing the disappearance of the mum.
Metcalff denies murdering the 46 year-old – known as Patti – at a flat in Girvan, Ayrshire on 13th November, 2017.
Prosecutors claim Metcalff attacked Patti by “means unknown”.
The mum lived in Paisley before relocating to Girvan in October 2017.
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 Patricia.
The court heard from DS Stuart Grainger who told jurors he was present when Metcalff gave his police statement while Patti’s missing persons inquiry was ongoing in April 2018.
The statement was read by prosecutor Alex Prentice QC and was confirmed by DS Grainger.
In it, Metcalff told the officers that he and Patti were “just friends” and were not involved in a sexual relationship.
He claimed that Patti lived above him 10 years before but the flat “lay empty for months.”
Metcalff claimed Patti went to Gran Canaria before coming back to Paisley but she didn’t initally stay with him.
He claimed Patti did move in with him after she was in a fight with her neighbours in which her windows were smashed.
It was stated that Patti moved into a private let in Girvan with Metcalff agreeing to be the guarantor paying £700 for the deposit and first month’s rent in October 2017.
He added: “Patti would sort out her housing benefit and would get my money back.”
Metcalff claimed Patti got upset during a visit and was told by her that she wanted to go back to Gran Canaria on 11th November, 2017.
He alleged he went to her flat on 12th November, 2017 in order to drop off cat litter.
He stated that the landlord of the flat called him on 13th November, 2017 stating that he could not get a hold of Patti and a new cooker was to be delivered to her.
Metcalff claimed he went to Girvan again in order to “tell her about the cooker” that was to be installed on November 17.
Metcalff told officers that he cleaned up the flat and was told by Patti to get her items from the local shop.
He stated that he took out £250 from a cash machine for her.
Metcalff claimed he told Patti that he would be down on Friday for the cooker being delivered.
He said: “She said okay and made no mention of not being in.”
Metcalff said he had no contact with Patti on the following three days.
He stated he went back to Patti’s flat to assist with the cooker delivery but there was “no answer.”
Metcalff said a neighbour took it in as he did not have a key.
He then stated that he received a call from Patti’s daughter who asked him to take friend Cherie Smith to the flat.
Metcalff told officers: “I said to her I hope Patti is okay because she had landed me in the s*** with money.
“Patti owed me quite a lot of money – £1,600 or £1,700 which was for holidays she had been on.”
He claimed he told Miss Smith that he hoped Patti had not “done a runner.”
Metcalff claimed he was given a key by the landlord’s handy man.
Metcalff stated that Patti was not there, the flat was unclean and there was no sign of her passport.
He claimed to have returned the key but returned on other occasions in December and January to tidy up the flat.
Metcalff stated he redecorated the flat in February 2018 before returning the keys and tenancy back to the landlord after the six month lease was over.
Metcalff lastly told officers: “I have no idea were Patti is and I have not helped her disappear.
“My opinion is she has skipped down and I don’t think she has come to any harm.
“The police have asked me if Patti had any injuries when I last saw her and she didn’t.”
Jurors were told Metcalff voluntarily gave a statement to police in August 2018 when he was a suspect in Patti’s missing persons inquiry.
He claimed that a police appeal regarding a white van “jogged his memory.”
Metcalff claimed to have delivered a mattress to her from his spare room on 11th November, 2018.
He then stated he hired a van to get rid of the old mattress which he claimed he did on 15th November, 2018.
Metcalff claimed Patti wasn’t in when he arrived at her flat and headed home.
He added: “I forgot to tell the police about this, it didn’t seem important.”
Jurors heard from hire analyst Shaun Tooney who told jurors the pair were in repeated phone contact in the early hours of 13th November, 2018.
Patti was shown to remain in her home while the phone attributed to Metcalff was spotted in the Ayrshire and Paisley areas.
Mr Tooney stated that when Metcalff used Patti’s card to take out money in Girvan, his phone was transmitting to his home address.
The last outgoing call from Patti was to Metcalff after midday on 13th November.
Metcalff was shown to have made two voice calls to Patti on 14th November which went to voicemail.
It was revealed the pair made 54 text messages and 143 calls to each other between 1st and 13th November.
The car attributed to Metcalff was also spotted close to Girvan at 21.23 and didn’t hit a transmitter again until 23.02 when it headed north on 15th November.
Iain McSporran QC, defending, asked: “The allegation was he murdered her on the 13th, he phoned her twice on the 14th, is that what the data says?”
Mr Tooney replied: “Yes.”
The trial continues before judge Lord Armstrong tomorrow.