A British pensioner has been accused of murder and rape at a Nice court.
Robert Dolby, 74, invited a young French woman to share his flat after meeting her in a top Riviera hotel,
The Nice court heard that the retired cook then turned into a murderous, sex-crazed "monster".
Dolby is accused of murdering one woman in 2010 and raping and attempting to strangle and suffocate another in 2012.
Dolby's second victim escaped after a British neighbour heard her scream, reports the Telegraph.
She told the court: "I was 30 seconds from death".
"I fought with all my might. He beat me all over. He tried to break my neck," said Cindy, 31.
The woman told the court that she felt sorry for the lonely British pensioner.
"When he complained about being lonely, I felt sorry for him. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth," she added.
A friendship began and Cindy agreed to temporarily share his flat on the outskirts of Monaco - despite the fact that he was 43 years her senior.
Dolby soon declared he was in love with Cindy.
Cindy described how he turned into a terrifying attacker with a "weird grin and the voice of a monster" when she failed to repond.
"By striking him violently, I managed to break free and escape," she said, adding: "He caught me in front of the lift and tried to drag me back to the flat."
"He was throttling me at the same time. Without the help of a neighbour, I would be dead."
Cindy suffered a broken nose, multiple bruises and scratches, and marks where he had sought to strangle her.
"He wanted to break my neck, to crush my windpipe," she said.
Dolby, who moved to the Côte d'Azur in 2005, pleads not guilty and insists that he had consensual sexual relations with Cindy and her mother, and that he had merely sought to calm Cindy after she became "hysterical".
In 2010, a 60-year-old woman died in Dolby's former home.
According to the Local, the woman, whose death was initially blamed on a cardiac arrest after a boozy dinner, was found half-naked on Dolby's couch, next to a cushion covered in lipstick.
Toxicology tests later found traces of Zolpidem – an extremely powerful sleeping pill that Dolby's ailing wife had been prescribed before her death.
The British pensioner has a long list of previous convictions.
In 1991, he was found guilty for sexually assaulting a work colleague and sentenced to four years in prison .
If convicted in the current case, he could face life imprisonment for murder.
The trial continues.
British tourist 'murdered' in French hotel car park
British man murdered in holiday home in Morocco