Musician 'beaten to death in fit of temper'


A talented pianist was strangled and beaten to death in a loss of temper by her musician husband, a jury has heard.

Norwegian double bass player John Martin, 48, was said to have been jealous of Russian-born Natalia Strelchenko, 38, because her career had taken off while his had not.

Ms Strelchenko, also known by the surname Strelle, was found with head and neck injuries at their home in Newton, Heath, Manchester, last August, on the couple's second wedding anniversary.

Opening the case at Manchester Crown Court, Rob Hall said: "This is quite simply a case of anger. Pure and simple anger.

"This defendant was not getting what he wanted and reached a point where he lost his temper in a very dramatic fashion."

Describing her injuries, he said: "The blows inflicted upon Natalia Strelle by this defendant were of such severe force and of such number that her central and left-sided facial bones were left free floating from the rest of her skull.

"Her jawbone was snapped in half and indeed, in addition to that, other parts of her skull were severely fractured

"Even though she was rushed to hospital soon after that assault, she was declared dead about a hour after."

Martin denies the murder, or the manslaughter, of his wife.

He has also pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of a male youth who cannot be identified for legal reasons.