Beds, Herts & Bucks

Murder accused says wife lunged at him with knife

Luz Margory Isaza Villegas Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Luz Margory Isaza Villegas's body was found on a common

A man accused of killing his wife then burning and burying her body has told a court she lunged at him with a knife before collapsing dead.

Luz Margory Isaza Villegas's remains were found in Northchurch, near Berkhamsted, on 17 January.

Alberto Giraldo-Tascon told jurors at St Albans Crown Court his wife died during a row in their home in Hemel Hempstead.

The 55-year-old denies murder but has admitted preventing a lawful burial.

Mr Giraldo-Tascon, of Ritcroft Street, said: "I just want to say sorry to my children."

Speaking through an interpreter, he said he and his family had moved to the UK as refugees from Colombia where he had been a police officer.

However, towards the end of 2018 he said their marriage began to fall apart.

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Police sealed off the house in Ritcroft Street and carried out searches of the home and garden

Mr Giraldo-Tascon told jurors that on 13 January he and his wife had an argument in the kitchen and she shouted insults at him.

He said she was at the sink holding a knife when she "lunged" at him.

Mr Giraldo-Tascon: "I was trying to grab her hand so she would not cut herself or maybe she wouldn't fall on top of the knife.

"We struggled a lot. I was trying to avoid her cutting herself."

They then "crashed against a radiator and a kitchen counter" and Mrs Villegas collapsed to the floor, the court heard.

Mr Giraldo-Tascon said: "She became pale and I said 'Margory, Margory what is happening to you?' I grabbed her by the hands. Her hands were really cold and her eyes were really black."

He told the jury had tried to give mouth to mouth resuscitation, but his wife did not respond.

Asked why he did not call the emergency services, Mr Giraldo-Tascon said: "At one point it occurred to me, but I didn't do it. I didn't do it because I believed she was already dead."

The trial continues.

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