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A City banker accused of bludgeoning an escort to death with a pestle has told a court he did “everything possible” to stop her trying to kill him.

Zahid Naseem denies murdering Christina Abbotts, who was found dead on her 29th birthday in May. He is accused of intentionally striking her 13 times on the back of the head with the kitchen utensil in a champagne- and cocaine-fuelled attack while she was house-sitting for a friend at a flat in Crawley, West Sussex.

Naseem, 48, wiped away tears with a handkerchief as he gave evidence in his trial at Lewes crown court on Monday, conceding for the first time that he did inflict the injuries, but claiming it was self-defence.

The court previously heard that he had claimed to have woken to find her dead and had “no idea” what had happened.

Abbotts led a “socialite” party lifestyle in London, telling relatives she worked in IT, but secretly she advertised her services on AdultWork.com.

Naseem, who has two young children and lives in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, told the court that Abbotts had begun strangling him as she sat on top of him. Jurors heard that Abbotts listed BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) on her profile under services she provided.

Naseem told the court strangulation was something she had suggested as “fun” after trying it with other clients. He said: “While it was still in the silly stage, I didn’t have any issue with it. At some stage, she did hold my neck and she didn’t let go.

“I did try and push her off and I couldn’t push her off and all of a sudden I realised I was beginning to choke. I was being strangled to death.”

Christopher Tehrani, prosecuting, dismissed Naseem’s evidence as “nonsense” and “a pack of lies”. He suggested that Naseem had become angry with Abbotts and carried out the “savage” attack. The trial continues.

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