THE estranged wife of a man allegedly murdered by having his throat slashed became hysterical after learning of his death, a court has heard.

Mark Webb, 40, allegedly died as a result of being attacked by Brian Cox in Stuart Road, Acomb, after exchanging angry text messages with his wife, Cox’s girlfriend, Susan Webb.

The prosecution says Cox, 29, slashed Mr Webb with a Stanley knife and then fled. Susan Webb is accused of removing evidence from the scene and lying to police.

But defending Webb at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, David Dixon said she became extremely distressed upon learning of Mr Webb’s death, a “telling reaction” which suggested that she had not known about what had happened.

Mr Dixon asked the jury: “Do you think she is a fantastic actress or is that a genuine reaction, as the officers thought it was? If she really knew before, would she have been able to fool the officers?”

Webb did wash blood from the alleyway where the two men struggled together, but that was to reassure frightened children – had she been wishing to hide evidence she would have cleaned more than that area, Mr Dixon suggested.

He said she had been cooperative with police and was noted by an officer to have been helpful.

Earlier, Richard Mansell, for the prosecution, said: “She intended to pervert justice to protect her boyfriend, Brian Cox, whom she knew had wounded Mr Webb. She was effectively giving him an alibi by saying he was not at the scene.”

Cox, 29, of no fixed address, denies murder. Webb, 30, of Middleton Road, and Dawn Heather Coates, 49, of Chapel Terrace, Acomb, who were both girlfriends of Cox, deny perverting the course of justice.

Speaking in defence of Coates, Glenn Parsons said she did not know Cox’s jacket had Mr Webb’s blood on it when she washed it and, that contrary to prosecution claims, it was not unusual for her to wash the jacket.

Nor was there any reason for her to question why he spent “five to six minutes” in a bathroom after they met up when Cox says he was washing blood from his hands.

Mr Justice Foskett is expected to send the jury out today after finishing his summing up.