THE husband of murdered Saints steward Paula Poolton made desperate attempts to contact his wife in the days after she went missing, a court heard.

Ricky Poolton told Winchester Crown Court how he "constantly" called her mobile and spoke of his "desperation and anger" when she never returned home after disappearing in October 2008.

The jury also heard how he had no knowledge of her three-month affair with fellow Saints steward Roger Kearney, the man now accused of her murder.

When asked by the prosecution how he felt in the 11 days after she went missing, Mr Poolton said: "Pretty desperate, angry. Well, angry, thinking she had gone off without a word, not contacting anyone, even her family."

He added that although he was concerned, he thought Paula was out on "a bender" - something she had done on a few previous occasions.

The court heard how Mr Poolton and 40-year-old Paula, who married in 2005 and lived in Course Park Crescent, Titchfield, had a "volatile" relationship with its ups and downs.

But despite the turbulent nature of their relationship, Mr Poolton said that in the three weeks leading up to her disappearance there had been "harmony" in her relationship.

He added: "As I saw it, the three weeks after we lost the cat, she calmed down a lot and she seemed to be very happy and calm.

"As I saw it, through my eyes, it (the relationship) was really, really good and getting better."

The court also heard how Mr Poolton was left stunned when police turned up on his doorstep on the night Paula's body was found and arrested him on suspicion of murder.

He said: "I was totally aghast, and I said you are joking."

Mr Poolton was later released without charge.

When asked by the prosecution if he murdered his wife, he said: "No, I did not kill Paula."

Kearney, 57, of Painswick Close, Sarisbury Green, denies killing Paula, who was found stabbed to death in the boot of her car near Swanwick railway station in Park Gate.