“This defendant had no intention of keeping the promise he had made to his wife and he resumed the affair.Maria discovered his continued infidelity and challenged him in anger.
“The prosecution say this defendant then physically assaulted his wife Maria and he knocked her unconscious.
“What he then did was douse her in white spirit, flammable white spirit and he set his own wife Maria on fire.
The prosecution say he burned her to death in their own home.”
Maria, who had two children with Byrne, died at her £450,000 home in Theydon Bois, Essex, on February 13 this year.
He allegedly set her alight before turning on a gas stove in a bid to blow up his house.Prosecutors say when this failed he moved her “burnt and charred and dead body” to make it look like a tragic cooking accident.
Byrne phoned 999 to say:
“My wife is dead, she is dead. She’s burnt badly.“The stove was on and the frying pan was on the other side of the room.She’s not doing anything, she’s not moving.”
Byrne denies murder and arson and the case at Chelmsford Crown Court continues.