International press was in court in Portimão on Monday to hear a former British taxi-driver plead not guilty to the horrific murder of a 72-year-old grandmother in her Alcalar home late last year.
Nigel Jackson, 60, is accused of murdering Brenda Davidson as part of a plot to live with his new Portuguese lover.
Prosecutors contend that he repeatedly beat his partner of 27 years round the head and then stabbed her to death.
They claim he wrapped her body inside plastic sheeting and buried her in a shallow cement grave in the back garden, while telling neighbours that she had gone back to England for treatment for a nasty cough.
Jackson allegedly sold the dead woman’s jewellery, used her bank cards and “tippexed” her name off the deeds of the property she owned, replacing it with his.
The court heard that Mrs Davidson’s cause of death was severe injuries to the back of the head – the kind that could not be self-inflicted.
But Jackson told the court he was innocent. Breaking down in tears, he said he came home from a game of golf, found her “lying in a pool of blood” and “assumed she had committed suicide”.
Mrs Davidson had been very sick for some time with two forms of cancer, he told the court. She had been talking about suicide “all the time”.
Jackson added: “We had discussed what we wanted to do if either of us died and we decided we wanted to be buried next to the animals in the garden. I honoured Brenda’s wishes.”
He explained that he had wrapped the mother-of-four in plastic “because she was cold”.
Jackson eventually led police to the grave after Mrs Davidson’s son Dean had become increasingly worried over his mother’s safety and alerted the British Consulate in Portimão.
Dean travelled to Portugal for the court hearing, and told the bench that Jackson’s claim that his mother must have bludgeoned herself round the back of the head was “just another of his made-up stories”.
“He has never told the truth all the time I have known him”, the retired policeman said. “I would class him as an habitual liar”.
Carlos Pimenta, the officer who headed the police investigation, told the court it was “totally impossible” that the wounds Mrs Davidson sustained “could have been the result of suicide”.
Pimenta added that traces of blood on the walls and furniture indicated that a struggle had taken place before she died.
Jackson is charged with murder, the desecration of a corpse, theft, two counts of credit card misuse and computer fraud.
He has been held in Silves jail since Mrs Davidson’s severely decomposed remains were discovered on January 6.
Asked by one of the three judges when exactly Brenda Davidson had died, Jackson replied: “I know the weekend but not the calendar. It looks silly, but I know Lewis Hamilton became world champion on that weekend” (November 22-23).
This suggests Mrs Davidson had been dead over six weeks before her body was discovered.
The trial was adjourned until Tuesday, December 15.
By NATASHA DONN firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo: LUIS FORRA/LUSA