A SHOPKEEPER who denies murdering his postmistress wife claimed in court he would “never hurt her”.

Robin Garbutt, 45, is accused of bludgeoning 40-year-old Diana three times over the head as she slept in their living quarters above The Village Shop and Post Office in Melsonby last March.

The prosecution at Teesside Crown Court alleges Garbutt, formerly of Huby, York, killed his unfaithful wife then pretended an armed robber did it before raiding the safe.

Jamie Hill QC, defending, asked: “Mr Garbutt, did you kill your wife?” He replied: “No, I would never hurt Di.”

He said he grew up near York and was managing director for a family business when he met his future wife, who grew up in Selby and Eggborough. He said they decided to buy the post office so they could spend more time together.

The court heard Mrs Garbutt had become involved with three men, becoming “intimate” on the sofa with one, sharing sexual banter on Facebook with another and apparently kissing a third – her cousin’s husband.

The defendant said he became “upset” when his wife confessed to him she had shared a kiss with a man on the settee.

Garbutt said he did not know about his wife flirting on Facebook with a local called Craig Hall and told the court she had denied relatives’ claims that she kissed her cousin’s husband.

He became emotional when he said: “We had the best relationship. I thought we were a loving couple and I miss her terribly.”

Garbutt told the jury his wife shouted down to him twice as he served in the shop – which he did not tell police during interviews.

He described a 6ft robber with a black handgun telling him “don’t do anything daft, we’ve got your wife”, and Garbutt said he put cash from the safe in a holdall. He said the raid took “no more than 20 seconds”, adding: “It was very quick. It was unbelievable.”

Garbutt went upstairs when the robber fled and found his wife motionless on the bed. He wept as he said: “I knew something was terribly wrong.”

The trial continues.