THE bereaved son of a man found dead in his burnt-out car after an alleged murder says his dad was a caring man who looked after his mother as she battled dementia.

Christopher Parkinson told a jury his bond with his dad Neil Parkinson had been ‘very strong’, describing the 66-year-old as a loving father who was open and ‘always there for us, for whatever we went through’.

Mark Chilman, 52, of Old Post Office, Pencombe, Bromyard, denies the murder of Neil Parkinson, whose body was found in his burnt out BMW in a lay-by in Ankerdine Road, Cotheridge, off the A44 between Bromyard and Worcester on December 12 last year.

As previously reported, the handyman’s former partner, Juliet Adcock, had formed a new relationship with Neil Parkinson and the two had spent the evening of his death together at her home – Giltedge Farm in Broadwas, near Worcester.

The prosecution case is that Chilman struck Mr Parkinson on the back of the head, causing a depressed fracture at the base of his skull which would have rendered him unconscious before setting fire to him in his car, staging the scene so that it looked like a suicide.

Mr Parkinson said his father, a retired sales representative for Callow Oils in Stourport, had no mental health issues, did not suffer from depression and had never expressed any wish to harm himself.

“Was there any frustration with any aspect of his life?” said Mark Heywood, prosecuting.

“Not at all,” replied Mr Parkinson.

“How did Mr Parkinson appear to view the life he had?” asked the barrister.

“He was very happy with it,” replied Mr Parkinson.

On the night of Mr Parkinson’s death, Mrs Adcock received a text message purporting to be from Neil Parkinson on another phone.

The message referred to Neil Parkinson's mother being ‘a burden’ and took the form of a confession about his ‘double life’, 'using and abusing women'.

The message also urged her Ms Adcock to get back with Chilman.

Ms Adcock in her evidence said she believed the text came from Chilman, not Mr Parkinson, because of the 'appalling' grammar and spelling mistakes and certain phrases used by Chilman.

Mr Parkinson’ was asked about his father’s relationship with his mum, the witness’s grandmother, in 2020, answering that it was ‘very strong’.

Mr Parkinson was asked about his relationship and his brother’s relationship with his father, replying: “The same, very strong.”

The witness said his grandmother had been suffering from dementia and agreed that his dad was 'acting as her carer as much as her son', including preparing all her meals.

He knew about his father's relationship with Ms Adcock and that she had previously been involved with Chilman.

He also told the jury that a jerry can in the boot of his dad's BMW was there because the fuel gauge was unreliable and did not always record accurately how much diesel was in the tank.

Neil Parkinson had been expected to return home to Clifton-Upon-Teme at around 10pm on the evening of his death by his other son, Jack, who lived with him, the court heard.

The trial continues.