Murder suspect Julian Felisi visited Aldenham Country Park “about ten or 15 times” between 2002 and 2009 according to his ex-girlfriend whose statement was read out in court this morning.

Deborah Osgood told police, in a statement on March 17, Mr Felisi would park in a lay-by in Dagger Lane so the couple could walk up to access the park through a kissing gate.

These are the same movements the prosecution claim murder victim Gary Bennett and his attacker made at 5.31am, on the morning of February 24.

In an early statement given to police before his arrest, Mr Felisi claimed the last time he had been to Aldenham Country Park was in January of this year.

The court also heard investigations into a phone call made by the defendant on the morning of the murder indicated he was travelling from the direction of Aldenham Country Park towards the Wiggenhall Road waste depot, at 5.58am.

The prosecution concluded its case this morning and, before the court broke for lunch, the defendant took the stand.

Mr Felisi, 38, told the court he had three children, two from his first marriage and one from his relationship with Ms Osgood.

He said that, in February of this year, he had credit card debts of about £2,000 and an overdraft of about £1,500.

Defence barrister Nicholas Rhodes asked Mr Felisi if he and his girlfriend at the time, Amber White, were able to maintain their lifestyle with their respective incomes.

Mr Felisi answered yes, adding that he was also able to meet monthly payments towards his credit card and overdraft debts.

The court heard Mr Felisi gambled regularly.

He said: “I've gambled all my life. I used to gamble quite heavily and was quite addicted but over the last couple of years I have been weaning myself off it. It has been quite hard but I have been dealing with it.”

He also told the court he did not have a betting account with any company and his only debts were to his bank.

Mr Felisi is due to continue giving evidence this afternoon.