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Wife strangled to death over TV shopping debt - court

An old age pensioner strangled his wife to death in a row over debts racked up through a television shopping channel, a court has heard.

Warren Goring, 67, denies murder at Chelmsford Crown Court after his wife Shirley, 63, was found dead by a bailiff at their home in All Saints Way in Mundesley, Norfolk, on February 18.

Opening the case, prosecutor Oliver Glasgow said the couple were "broke, living beyond their means, about to be evicted and facing bankruptcy."

He said the pair had lived off Goring's pension form his job as a Crown Prosecution Service manager and much of their debt came from them spending £10,000 on ladies' jewellery from television channel Sit Up Auctions since his retirement in 2008.

Mr Glasgow added: "He attacked her while she sat in their bed and brutally strangled her to death.

"The reason would appear to be the couple's poor finances or, if Warren Goring is to be believed, he didn't like the way his wife spoke to him when she spoke about their money."

He said that there was no dispute over whether Goring killed his wife. "The issue is what he intended when he held her in an armlock, covered her mouth and strangled her as she tried to fight him off," he added.

The court heard that Goring had received an eviction notice relating to £3,000 in rent arrears the night before Mrs Goring was found dead. They had a "blazing row" as he revealed the extent of their financial troubles to her.

Goring, who worked for CPS Norfolk for 26 years, most recently as a business manager, was arrested by police searching for his car near King's Lynn hours after his wife's body was found.

Mr Glasgow said Goring had driven the couple's dog to Chesterfield so a friend could look after it.

He told police he was on his way to his local police station to discuss what had happened.

In his police interview, Goring said he had no recollection of the killing but accepted he had "flipped".

He told officers: "It wasn't what she said, it was how she said it and how it reflected on me. She just went on and on and on."

He said that after the incident he had sat on the bed. He did not check on his wife's condition or call for help.

He told police: "I could only think about what I should do with the dog."

Mr Glasgow said: "It is clear that he grabbed her from behind and crushed her neck for long enough to strangle her. She fought back, injuring him, but it did nothing to deter him.

"He must have held on for 20 or 30 seconds. He ignored her desperate struggle for survival and must have felt her slowly slipping into unconsciousness."

He added that the couple had a "traditional marriage", with Goring the main breadwinner and taking charge of the finances. If Mrs Goring had lived, they would have celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary last week.

Paramedics and police were called to the house in a quiet cul-de-sac at about 9.30am on February 18. Mrs Goring was wearing her night gown and her eyes were closed.

Next door neighbour Michael Simms helped identify Mrs Goring's body.

He said: "I knew them as Warren and Shirley and had spoken to them a number of times in a friendly way, including talking about cutting back some conifers.

"They were both quiet and she was extremely reclusive - we never saw her out in the village.

"He was a pleasant gentleman and they seemed to get on well."

He added the couple's Labrador Lucy was "like a child to them".

Lynn Bird, a friend of the couple, said Goring arrived unannounced at her home in Chesterfield between 9.30am and 10am on February 17. He dropped off the dog, Lucy, and left immediately.

She said: "I was in my dressing gown and flustered myself. I didn't really notice anything about his behaviour but later realised it was an unusual thing to do."

The trial is expected to last four days.