Sussex

Hitman accused David Harris 'made up cricket umpire lie'

Amberley Image copyright Google
Image caption The couple shared an £800,000 house in the village of Amberley

A man accused of hiring hitmen to kill his partner invented an elaborate lie to have an affair with a woman 40 years his junior, the Old Bailey has heard.

"House husband" David Harris told his partner Hazel Allinson he had become a cricket umpire and had to travel away from his Sussex home, jurors were told.

Prosecutor William Boyce QC asked Harris if he had ever been in a village cricket team, and he said he had not.

Mr Harris, 68, denies three counts of soliciting to murder Ms Allinson.

The court heard Mr Harris, a former TV producer who worked on The Bill, told Ms Allinson tales about his village cricket club involvement so he could travel to London to be with Ugne Cekaviciute, whom he had met in a brothel.

Mr Harris is accused of trying to get rid of Ms Allinson and get full ownership of the £800,000 house they shared in Amberley to run off with Ms Cekaviciute, whom he previously had admitted to being "besotted with" and spending £50,000 on her.

'Complete fabrication

The court heard Mr Harris's "story" was he was too unwell to play cricket and had been persuaded to umpire - and as a driver he had to do the matches furthest from where he lived.

Cross-examining, Mr Boyce said: "You never got the local matches. The whole thing was an elaborate lie dreamed up by you to deceive Hazel to get regular away days with Ugne.

"You would tell Hazel you were an umpire on Arundel Castle Cricket Club. It was all a complete fabrication."

Mr Harris replied: "It was."

Jurors heard Mr Harris also lied to Ms Allinson that he had to support his brother in hospital while he was on "suicide watch".

Mr Harris said: "That's correct. This whole thing completely blew out of proportion."

And Mr Boyce asked him: "You could make things up with considerable ease and make it sound convincing, couldn't you?"

Mr Harris replied: "At times, yes."

Image caption The court was previously told about a plan to kill Hazel Allinson at St Richard's Hospital in Chichester

The defendant previously conceded he had handed over enough information for potential hitmen to find and kill Ms Allinson but insisted he was "in control".

Mr Boyce said: "May I suggest this is truly absurd.

"You were recruiting these people because you were at your wits' end and could see no way out."

But Mr Harris replied: "Yes, I was at my wits' end. You suggest I'm a liar and deceitful but I'm not a murderer and neither would I ever consider murdering Hazel."

The case continues.

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