A talented pianist was strangled and beaten to death in a loss of temper by her musician husband, a jury has heard.
Norwegian double bass player John Martin, 48, was said to have been jealous of Russian-born wife Natalia Strelchenko, 38, because her career had taken off while his had not.
Ms Strelchenko, also known by the surname Strelle, was found with head and neck injuries at their home in Newton, Heath, Manchester, last August, on the couple’s second wedding anniversary.
Opening the case at Manchester Crown Court, Rob Hall said:
Ms Strelchenko had played the piano from the age of eight and went on to gain entry to the prestigious St Petersburg State Conservatory in her homeland, the jury was told, and at the “peak of her powers” performed in concerts with a full orchestra.
She moved to Manchester in 2009 following the breakdown of her first marriage three years earlier, before she met the defendant a year later.
Mr Hall said the pair soon embarked on a romantic relationship, but it was one which was “marked with tensions”.
The prosecutor said:
In February 2013, officers attended a former address in Newton Heath when they were arguing.
Nine months later, police were called to their home in Culcheth Lane – scene of the alleged murder on August 30 last year – when Martin tried to force his way through the front door of the property after a row on the phone.
Following that incident, Martin texted his wife’s music publicist in which he said:
Martin was said to have become “very upset” the day before his wife’s death when he discovered she had advertised the address on a property exchange website for people who wanted to swap homes for short periods, rather than stay in hotels.
Martin later left the house for a couple of hours in which time he texted a friend: “Hopeless” and sent another message which read:
A Polish violinist friend stayed the night and said she witnessed the defendant throwing Ms Strelchencko and himself down a full flight of stairs before he strangled her.
The woman ran to a neighbour’s house and raised the alarm, the court heard.
When police attended Martin was in an upstairs bedroom and when arrested on suspicion of assault he repeatedly shouted: “Kill me.”
Some of Ms Strelchenko’s blood was found on a white double bass case in the house, the court heard.
Martin was later re-arrested in custody at a local police station on suspicion of murder and replied:
The prosecutor told the jury: