AN Amesbury man accused of killing his wife says he has no memory of attacking her with a knife or calling 999 for help.

James Roy Simister, 48, has denied the murder or manslaughter of his wife Deborah, 45, and a trial started at Winchester Crown Court last week.

On Monday, a jury heard evidence from Simister, who said he had no memory of what happened at his home in Maple Way after about 7pm on April 8 last year.

The court heard the pair had spent the afternoon drinking after a shopping trip to Andover with one of Mrs Simister's daughters, who said Simister became angry about spending money on other family members. Simister, who used to be in the RAF, told the jury he and his wife began bickering at some point during the afternoon, but he didn't remember what it was about.

“It was always something of nothing,” he said. Simister, who was four times over the drink drive limit when the stabbing occurred, admitted his relationship with his wife often led to violence.

“It wasn't the best, we were trying to sort ourselves out to a future we could enjoy,” he said. He also said they “wanted to grow older and enjoy life together”.

The jury were played a recording of two 999 calls made later by Simister, during which his injured wife can be heard in the background calling out for help.

He told the call handler “I've just stabbed my wife”, and when asked if she was all right, he responded: “No, she's dying. Please get here.”

Mrs Simister was airlifted to Southampton General Hospital where she later died from her injuries. Mark Heywood, defending, said Mrs Simister's wounds could have been inflicted as a result of a struggle between them, rather than a “murderous and frenzied attack” by Simister.

The court heard the couple had a history of domestic violence between them, and both had been injured in the past. The case continues.