A man accused of murdering his ex partner in the street claims he saved her from a life of prostitution and abuse at the hands of a trafficking gang before they began a new life together in Sheffield.
Bulgarian-born Erhan Mehmedov said Dimitrina Borisova had been a teacher and an accountant in their home country - before turning to prostitution in Bulgaria to pay off debts.
He told Sheffield Crown Court she had been brought to the UK with a gang who abused her and took money she earned as a prostitute working in Newport, Wales.
Mehmedov, aged 45, who admits stabbing his ex-partner to death in Blackstock Road, Gleadless Valley, Sheffield, in February, but denies it was murder, says he took her with him to Derbyshire after she begged for help.
After moving to Sheffield two years ago, he said they enjoyed a ‘happy life’ with their young son and his daughter from a previous relationship - until, he claims, 46-year-old Dimitrina hatched a plan to paint him as a violent partner to claim more benefits.
Mehmedov, who lived in Turkey for most of his life, said: “We met and she told me she was in difficulty. She thought I’d be different to others because I was Bulgarian. I took her with me where I had work.
“Dimitrina’s mother came to visit and things changed. They had a plan. She wanted to leave and say I had been violent so she could get benefits.
“I want to clearly state to everyone in this court room the accusations against me show me as a monster, a murderer, or a strange person, but that is not the case.”
Police in Derbyshire had visited Mehmedov over reports of domestic abuse when the couple lived there in 2010. He accepted he hit her during a row.
But Mehmedov said: “I only slapped her in Derby and she based all her claims around that. She claimed I was drinking and hitting her, but she was 46. In Bulgaria she had been a teacher, an accountant. Why would someone put up with that for three years? It is a complete lie.”
The trial continues.