A Frenchman allegedly confessed to killing his first mother-in-law as he tried to murder his second wife, a court heard yesterday.
Cherif Doua was said to have admitted killing Pilar Leon in France in 1988 as he attempted to strangle and stab Jayne Brocklesby to death at her home in West Bromwich in 2000.
Ms Brocklesby, aged 32, was left for dead in the attack, but her 62-year-old mother, Valerie, died after being repeatedly stabbed with a kitchen knife.
The allegations surrounding Ms Leon came to light as Ms Brocklesby gave evidence about the attack on her and her mother at a court in Beauvais.
Former car salesman Doua was initially a suspect in the death of Ms Leon, a wellknown Beauvais nightclub owner, but charges were never brought.
The French authorities reopened the investigation after Ms Brocklesby's allegations, but again found no case to answer.
Giving evidence yesterday, Doua's first wife, Brigitte Parly, aged 41, told the court she was never in any doubt that he has was not involved.
"I have never had any conversation with Jayne about (my mother's death)," she said. "I know and I'm sure that Cherif had nothing to do with the death of my mother.
"I would never have had a third child with someone who could have done that."
Doua has admitted trying to kill Ms Brocklesby and murdering her mother at the pensioner's home in Essex Avenue, Hateley Heath, on January 24, 2000.
But he denies he acted with premeditation, instead claiming he hit out in anger on the spur of the moment after Mrs Brocklesby insulted him and refused to let him see his wife.
He is being tried in France because it was not possible to extradite him under French law. Following the attack, he contacted members of his own family, his former partner of 15 years, Ms Parly, and police in West Bromwich to admit his crime and tell them he was going to commit suicide.
Ms Brocklesby also told the court that Doua phoned her on a number of occasions after her release from hospital begging her to join him on the run, but he blamed her and her mother for what happened.
Friends and members of his family told the panel of three judges and 12 jurors that they were still struggling to come to terms with what Doua had done and why.
They insisted he had never been violent or aggressive with anyone and had been "madly in love" with Ms Brocklesby.
In a succession of phone calls to them immediately after the attack and before his arrest, he sounded panicked, they said.
One of his three sisters, Ouria, aged 49, said: "He said he had been stupid and killed Jayne and her mother."
None of them had been aware that the couple were having problems, and Doua never discussed his concerns with them.
Responding to a theory put forward by one of his defence lawyers, Hubert Delarue, that he had problems communicating personal issues, Doua agreed.
He said he still found it difficult to talk about what happened, and he felt responsible for his mother's death in July 2000.
Asking for his family's forgiveness, he added: "My mother died without knowing why I did it."
The trial continues.