A MAN accused of murdering a mother-of-five has told a jury he had nothing to do with the killing.

Stephen Charlton was being cross-examined by prosecutor, Peter Makepeace, QC, on the fifth day of his trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The 24-year-old answered “I don’t know” to many of the questions he was asked, but insisted he was not responsible for the death of his partner.

Natalie Saunders, 33, was found dead in a state Mr Makepeace described as “mutilated beyond description, hideously deformed” at her home in Middlesbrough.

Charlton said he woke to find her on the floor of their bedroom on October 7 last year, but had no idea how she suffered her multiple injuries.

At first he seemed to suggest she must have fallen out of bed during the night, but then appeared to blame an intruder.

A ambulance worker and former serviceman said he had seen injuries from bomb blasts and people hit by trucks, and said Miss Saunders’ injuries were the same.

A post-mortem examination showed she had suffered three blows to the face, 13 blows to the torso, 25 blows to the lower limbs and 10 blows which she deflected with the backs of her arms.

The prosecution say as she lay with those injuries, Charlton strangled her with his bare hands, then rang his father rather than an ambulance.

He told the jury of six men and six women: “My head was all over the place, I was running around like a headless chicken.”

Mr Makepeace said: “It is inconceivable that anyone in those circumstances would not have rang the emergency services immediately.

“The bruises that lined her body from head to foot, you had inflicted one by one, punch after punch, kick after kick. How long did it take?

“How long, Mr Charlton, did it take you to kill her? How long from the first punch to the hands around the throat and strangulation?”

He simply answered: “I didn’t.”

He was also questioned about the number of times neighbours or passers-by rang the police to report angry arguments and him making threats to kill Miss Saunders.

Charlton insisted it had not been him shouting, but could not say who it was.

Mr Makepeace said one neighbour told police that Miss Saunders “was living an awful life and was effectively being tortured”.

He added: "I suggest to you if you had just woken up to this situation when you saw Natalie on the floor, what you would have seen was a human being mutilated beyond description, hideously deformed.

"What medical training does your dad have? Why did you ring your dad? Is it the case were you have messed up really, really badly, the one person who is prepared to cover for you is your dad?"

Chalrlton, of Tomlinson Way, Middlesbrough, denies murder.