JURORS are being asked to consider how a 'weed' of man could become a killer as a murder trial comes to an end.

Andrew Pearson is accused of kidnapping and murdering his former partner after he ambushed her on the way to work.

His barrister, John Elvidge QC, told Teesside Crown Court how Pearson had been in a loving relationship with Natalie Harker and may have 'moaned' about their relationship ending but that did not make him a killer.

"This is not a clear cut case," he said. "I would suggest it is a very difficult case."

He said there was no evidence of him terrorising the 30-year-old in the month leading up to her death in October last year.

"There is no suggestion that he behaved violently towards Natalie, there was no suggestion that he had ever laid a hand on her.

"What happened to the weed for him to become a homicidal man?"

On the 12th day of the trial, the jury listened to the closing speeches of both the prosecution and defence barristers.

The Northern Echo: Natalie HarkerNatalie Harker

Alistair MacDonald QC, prosecuting, reminded the jurors of Miss Harker's conscientious approach to work, even turning up when she had broken her ankle.

The barrister said Pearson's claim that the pair met up and had sex instead of her going to work was a 'lie'.

He said: "She was dressed as though she was going to work, if you are sure about this, you be sure that the defendant is a liar.

"It demonstrates and proves that Natalie Harker had no intention, whatsoever, of meeting the defendant at that time of the morning."

Mr MacDonald told the jury that Pearson would change his story whenever he needs to try to prove his innocence – 'he was just making it up as he went along'.

Earlier, the jury had heard how Miss Harker's naked and bruised body was found in a tent belonging to the defendant which was pitched in woodland near her North Yorkshire home.

Pearson told the jury that he considered the pair's relationship as 'loving' but accepted they were on a break.

He denied that he had been following his ex-partner in the period leading up to her disappearance.

Witnesses had said Miss Harker had raised concerns about her former partner following her when she was going to and from work

Pearson, of Chestnut Court, Catterick Garrison, denied murder and kidnap.

The jury is expected to go out start considering its verdict in the morning.