The girlfriend of a dad-of-three accused of murdering the mother of his child has recalled the panic-stricken phonecall he made moments after the alleged crime.

Karyna Ofei yesterday told the Old Bailey Jerome McDonald rang her weeping over the lifeless body of his ex-girlfriend on the morning she died.

Mr McDonald, 31, of Fairlands Avenue, Thornton Heath, is alleged to have strangled Janelle Duncan-Bailey in the early hours of January 2 during a blazing row over child support.

Mum-of-two Miss Duncan-Bailey, 25, of Pawsons Road, was found dead in the boot of his car in nearby Mayfield Crescent three days later.

The special needs school nurse had furiously confronted Mr McDonald, the father of her two-year-old son Khamal, at his house at 4.30am.

She was escorted from the road by police, but later returned.

Miss Ofei, who had been sleeping at Mr McDonald's house but stormed out after the row, said her boyfriend phoned her in tears later that morning.

She told the court: "I said, 'what's happened?' And he said, 'she's not moving'. I said, 'what do you mean she's not moving?' He said, 'she's just not moving'. I told him to call an ambulance and I would make my way back there, but he told me not to come back.

"I was repeating myself, telling him to call an ambulance and police, but he was just really silent. He said, 'what will my children think of me?'"

Miss Ofei, who had been in relationship with Mr McDonald for eight months but did not know he had fathered Khamal, said she never asked what had happened to Miss Duncan-Bailey, even when visited by her visibly distressed boyfriend the next day.

She told the court: "It was too much for me to deal with. It was obvious that something serious had happened.

"He said 'I don't want you involved.' He had a low voice and was crying. I told him to get in touch with the police and he said, 'I can't.'

"The next day he looked dreadful. He had red, red eyes and his skin was grey. He was shaking and clasping his hands. I said, 'what am I supposed to say? I don't want to do the worst.'

She said she told the Mr McDonald, a DJ and mechanic, to "do the right thing".

Officers initially interviewed him as a witness but on January 4 named him as a suspect. The next day he admitted Miss Duncan-Bailey's body was hidden in his car boot, where police found it wrapped in sheets and bin bags.

Mr McDonald claimed she had attacked him with a hammer and he had pushed her away, causing her to fatally bang her hand.

But a post-morterm examination found no trace of a serious head injury, with a pathologist instead reported deep bruises consistent with strangulation, possibly with a ligature.

Miss Duncan-Bailey also suffered a deep elbow wound thought to have been inflicted with a claw hammer.

Mr McDonald suffered no serious injuries.

He denies murder.

The trial, expected to last two weeks, continues.