THE man accused of raping, abducting and murdering Hannah Foster was forced into a "sexually compromising position" by thugs hired by a colleague, a court heard.

Jurors were told James Dennis was "desperate" to get back £16,000 he had leant to Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, who had been having an affair with Mr Dennis's wife, it was claimed.

Defence barrister Abbas Lakha QC, representing Kohli, said Mr Dennis, a supervisor at sandwich delivery firm who later named Kohli to police as a suspect, needed "a lever" over his client.

Mr Lakha said: "By February 2003 you were frantic to get that money back. At the same time, you were aware that if you forced Mr Kohli to pay the money back that he might in fact make public what had been going on."

Mr Dennis replied: "That was a blatant lie".

Mr Lakha continued: "You were worried about the embarrassment that might be caused to her (his wife Carole Dennis) weren't you?

"So you had to find a way to neutralise Mr Kohli's threats. Is that why either your brother or you or both hired people to frighten the living daylights out of Mr Kohli?"

Mr Dennis refuted the claims, adding: "We never knew anyone like that."

Mr Lakha continued: "I suggest that you did hire people and whatever it was they were asked to do, the one thing you had to make sure was that they did something that neutralised Mr Kohli's threats. The idea was to put him in a sexually compromising position so you would have that lever over him.

Mr Dennis again denied the accusation, saying he didn't hire anyone.

Mr Lakha then put to Mr Dennis that he had tried to frame his colleague for Hannah's death.

"You knew things had gone wrong didn't you? You knew that a young girl had been killed and you had to make it look like Mr Kohli had been responsible for it. You knew Mr Kohli's (sandwich delivery) round better than anyone else and you knew where he would be the next morning.

"You knew perfectly where he would be on his round."

Mr Lakha asked Mr Dennis if he had got someone to follow Kohli on the round on the morning of Saturday March 15, 2003 - the day after Hannah vanished as she walked home.