A MURDERED postmistress was unhappy about her sex life with her husband and had been “intimate” with another man in York, a court has heard.

Three men who were involved with Diana Garbutt, 40, told yesterday of her tangled love life in the 18 months leading up to her murder last March.

They were speaking at the trial of her husband, Robin Garbutt, 45, formerly of York and Huby, who denies beating her to death with an iron bar as she slept above their village post office in Melsonby, North Yorkshire.

York man John Illingworth told Teesside Crown Court he had an “intimate” encounter with Mrs Garbutt on the settee in his house; and a second man, Craig Hall, said he enjoyed “cheeky banter” with her about sex.

A third man, Kevin Heapey, of Chelmsford, who was married to Mrs Garbutt’s cousin Angela, revealed he kissed Mrs Garbutt after a family party. Mrs Garbutt, who grew up in Eggborough and Selby, later wrote to Mr Heapey, saying she felt she was living “in some fantasy world that I have created and totally indulged in”, the court heard.

She wrote: “I thought that your marriage was doomed and mine too and that we were not hurting anyone and what we had was special. But now I know that your marriage is not doomed and what I thought was special is really a continuation of your last relationship.

“I feel I have been part of something seedy and I just think we should have time out and be just friends.

“I will always be here to talk to you but anything sexual should be off limits.” She said that if his marriage did not work out, “we can maybe start over without the emotional baggage”.

After Mr Heapey confessed, his wife made him tell Garbutt, he said.

“From what I can remember, he said ‘What are you talking about?’ and then ‘Let’s leave it at that’,” he said.

Mr Heapey said his marriage was in difficulty in early 2009 when a relationship “was starting to evolve” with Mrs Garbutt. Soon after, he ceased contact with her and deleted an email from her without reading it closely, he said.

He agreed it was similar to the written note read out. Mr Illingworth told the court the Garbutts were staying with friends at the house he shared in York in December 2008. After going out separately, Mr Illingworth said he ended up on the sofa with Mrs Garbutt after her male friend and Garbutt had gone to their beds.

He told the court: “Me and Diana were downstairs together. We were intimate on the settee.”

Later, Mr Illingworth said: “It was very cloudy, because we were both very drunk.”

Mrs Garbutt later told him she had confessed to her husband, the jury was told. Jamie Hill QC, defending, said: “You don’t know whether she told him you had kissed, cuddled or had sex? You weren’t sure yourself?”

He replied: “It was very cloudy, I remember her saying ‘Whatever you are doing, you have to stop this because of Robin’. She made it very clear.”

Mr Illingworth said he assumed they had sex, because Mrs Garbutt rang him afterwards. When he heard Garbutt knew, Mr Illingworth asked her if he should expect a visit from her husband.

“I would have thought he would be angry,” Mr Illingworth said. “She said ‘Robin’s not like that, he’s not physical’.”

Melsonby resident Craig Hall told the court he and Mrs Garbutt chatted online about his divorce and went on late-night bike rides, but denied they had a physical relationship.

He said Mrs Garbutt told him her marriage was going through a “rough patch” and her husband was considering paying for her to rent somewhere to stay. Mr Hall said: “She was happy, but not with everything - the sex. Robin was not interested in it. I think I said ‘If my wife had had your interest in sex I don’t think we would have got divorced’.”

Mr Hall said: “I wouldn’t say it was flirty, it was just cheeky banter.”

The prosecution claim Garbutt, who had £30,000 credit card debts, killed his wife with three blows to the head, then pretended an armed robber did it. He claims he was held up at gunpoint and forced to open the safe by a masked man, who then fled.

The trial continues.