An undertaker accused of murdering his wife told a villager she was suffering from a brain tumour, a jury heard (Wednesday).

Retired bank manager Geoffrey Lewin said he was left "very shocked" by John Taylor's revelation.

The men had met in the street a month after 63-year-old Alethea Taylor vanished without trace on January 19 last year.

Taylor claimed his wife disappeared from their home in Mortimer Drive, Orleton, near Tenbury Wells, while in the grip of dementia.

Mr Lewin, who is treasurer for a number of clubs in the village, said Taylor reported that his wife was waiting to see a specialist and her illness had become evident in a number of ways.

While playing the piano she would suddenly burst into tears as she remembered her late father, he said. And at a New Year's party she had started crying again.

Taylor, aged 61, who denies murder, also spoke about financial problems, Mr Lewin told Worcester Crown Court.

There were funds in a business account but the couple's private accounts were in joint names. Mrs Taylor's signature was required for funds to be withdrawn.

At the beginning of June last year, the two men met again in Leominster, where Taylor was renovating a house he had bought as an investment to let out.

Taylor claimed police had not informed him of any developments in the case. But he was "not in the dock so to speak" as his passport had not been confiscated, said Mr Lewin.

Taylor believed that after a six-month investigation the police were about to wind down the search for his wife, a former teacher.

The funeral director also said the business was struggling because bereaved families found it difficult to deal with him in the light of events.

His car needed £2,000 spent on repairs. He had been to a bank to inquire about financial help.

On February 9 last year, friends Hazel Bows and Olga Goodwin were walking six miles away from Orleton when they saw Taylor hand-in-hand with Alison Dearden, the court heard.

They were "taken aback" by the discovery because they had helped in the search for Mrs Taylor.

Mrs Goodwin said in a statement to police: "He was in such a happy mood considering what had happened."

Her friend recorded the registration numbers of the couple's parked cars. Mrs Dearden, a 53-year-old widow, was later revealed to be Taylor's lover.

Bronwen Caldwell told the jury that Mrs Taylor had bought tickets for a concert in March 2012.

But in February the defendant phoned her and asked if he could bring "another person" to the event. He attended with Mrs Dearden.

Car services advisor Dawn Phillips talked to Taylor when he brought his wife's car into a Leominster garage for an MOT test on January 31 last year.

She said he told her £4,000 had gone missing at the time of his wife's disappearance. He was "praying" that he would get a phone call to say she had been found.

The trial continues.