A BIGAMIST accused of murdering his secret wife said the couple were in a "loving relationship", a court has heard.

Pierre Legris, who stands accused of killing Poole nurse Rui Li at their home in Burnham Drive, Bournemouth, on May 23 last year, told jurors he loved the 44-year-old and had no part in her death.

As he took the stand the 61-year-old was asked by his barrister Kaly Kaul: "Did you kill Rui Li?"

He replied: "No, I did not."

Speaking in a strong French accent, Pierre Legris - who ran Cromer Motors in St Clement's Road with first wife Irene Smith and son Jonathan Legris - told jurors he had married "insecure" Ms Li to ensure she could remain in the UK.

"She asked me because she wanted to stay in the country," he said.

"It was a last-minute booking at Southampton Register Office."

He added that Ms Li had not wanted anyone to know about the marriage, which took place in the summer of 2007 when he was still married to Smith.

Pierre Legris also denied "forcing" Ms Li to have sexual relationships with some of the men to whom she provided a massage service.

He alleged that she had resumed giving massages in May 2014 - just weeks before her death, and said the news was "out of the blue".

However, he acknowledged that he had joined in with those services when men visited their second home in Wolverton Road.

The defendant told jurors that he was not jealous because both he and Ms Li were swingers, and were members of a number of specialist websites under the user name 'Two of us and you'.

A police investigation revealed that the word "swingers" was entered into a search engine on the couple's shared computer 9,176 times between August 29, 2012 and January 6, 2014.

Ms Li's body was discovered in the back of a car parked in Verwood Crescent, Bournemouth, on Friday, May 30 last year.

Legris, of Burnham Drive, denies murder but admits bigamy.

First wife Irene Smith, 66, of St Clement's Road, denies two counts of perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to commit murder.

His son Jonathan Legris, 27, of Spring Road, denies assisting an offender and conspiracy to commit murder.

The trial, at Winchester Crown Court, continues.