The lover of a Herefordshire undertaker accused of murder has told a jury she thought his wife had left him because she had found out about their relationship.

Alison Dearden said the disappearance of Alethea Taylor cast "a black cloud" over her continuing affair with John Taylor, of Mortimer Drive, Orleton.

She told the jury at Worcester Crown Court that Taylor, aged 61, had asked her to move in with him in the months following his wife's disappearance.

Mrs Dearden, aged 53, of Holly Cottage, Brimfield, said she had known Taylor and his wife, who has not been found, for twelve years after they had met occasionally on the same church choir circuit.

Her husband David died in November, 2010, and Taylor was at the funeral. The following year, Taylor began to send her text messages and sent her red roses. They started having an affair in August, 2011.

On Thursday, January 19, last year the day Mrs Taylor disappeared, Taylor had visited her and when he got home, he called her and told her his wife was missing. The following day, she went to his house. She said it was the first time she had been there and she had gone because she wanted to support him as he had told her he was "not feeling very good."

Asked by Jonas Hankin, prosecuting, if she was concerned that Mrs Taylor would return, she said, "I thought there was a possibility she might come back but I thought she had left him because she had found out about our relationship."

Taylor went to carry out a funeral and she waited at his home to do some washing and ironing. She said she could not remember if there were any items of Mrs Taylor's among the washing but she thought some of her clothes were hanging on a drier.

Forensic experts from the police arrived following the report of Mrs Taylor's disappearance and Taylor was not allowed into his home for a time. When they left, Taylor had told her they had found a spot of blood on the bedcover. He said he thought it might have come from Buster, the household cat.

In April or May last year, he asked her to live with him but she said felt the disappearance was hanging over them both and she was uncertain aobut the future. In May, they split up and he had become upset and angry, she said.

Taylor was arrested in June. He denies murder.

The trial continues.