THE jury in the trial of sub-postmaster Robin Garbutt has been told to consider whether he killed his wife and then hid the murder weapon in the “dead of night”.

The eight men and four women spent more than two-and-a-half hours deliberating yesterday afternoon before being sent home. Mr Justice Openshaw asked the jury to return at 10am on Monday to again consider its verdict.

Garbutt denies murdering his 40-year-old wife, Diana, in the living quarters of The Village Shop and Post Office, in Melsonby, near Richmond, on March 23 last year.

The judge told the jury they must consider all the evidence they had heard during the previous 17 days.

He said: “You must reach, if you can, a unanimous verdict – that is to say a verdict which you are all agreed on, one way or another.”

Earlier the judge summed up the evidence from the trial.

He told the jury: “He (prosecutor David Hatton QC) suggests that the bar was put on the wall by the defendant in the dead of night after he had murdered his wife.

“These are the serious issues which you will have to consider.”

The judge said he would decide when, if at all, a majority verdict would be acceptable.

He advised the jury to appoint a foreman to lead the examination of the evidence and to give the verdict.

The legal teams and Garbutt were called back into court about an hour after retiring when the jury submitted a question.

Members asked if they could have the statement to police of Melsonby resident Brian Hird, who had been called as a witness by the defence.

He told the court earlier in the trial he heard a woman’s voice call out “Robin” on the morning of the murder at about 6.45am.

He said Garbutt responded by saying “yes Di” or “yes dear”.

Prosecutors claim Garbutt beat his wife to death with an iron bar and then faked a robbery to cover up his crime.

The trial continues.