The 21-year-old mother of two who confessed to police that she stabbed her former lover, Maldon kebab shop owner Fevsi Demir, to death, told a jury this week it was a lie. Serena Kayretli said she was a "total wreck" at the time just five months after giving birth.

Mrs Kayretli said she lied to help the husband she loved, Vedat Kayretli, 25, who jointly faces trial with her on a charge of murder.

She said she knew nothing of Fevsi's death until news bulletins that a body was found in concrete behind his shop BMT.

The court was told that while visiting her suicidal husband in prison after his arrest for the killing they toyed with several false stories. They decided she should confess on the grounds of self defence following a kick to her stomach by Fevsi, 35, during a row in his High Street shop in September 1996.

The couple lived first in Norfolk Road and then Dryden Close, Maldon.

Giving evidence at Chelmsford Crown Court she said when Fevsi's body was found seven months after his death Vedat told her he stabbed Fevsi in the heart because Fevsi called her a slut, prostitute and whore.

She said: "He had killed Fevsi for me. For my honour. It was not deliberate. He described it as a fight that had gone terribly wrong."

But the hours spent alone in Holloway Prison made her realise the stupidity of the false confession.

She also saw flaws in what Vedat had told her.

She snatched a chance at a preliminary court hearing to quiz him about him saying he had put Fevsi in the shop walk-in freezer. He said Fevsi was alive at the time which had made her feel sick.

She said she realised the killing was deliberate and also thought Vedat had come to England on a false passport to snatch their son. She could no longer protect Vedat, she said.

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