THE paid carer of an elderly Belbroughton man told a jury he had asked her to marry him after the death of his wife of 60 years.

Joy Njoku also claimed at Worcester Crown Court that Peter Sturgeon, of Hartle Lane, had also suggested she could help him to end his life.

Njoku, who was employed by an agency, was said to have been held in high regard by the Sturgeons for the way she had looked after Mr Sturgeon, who died aged 85.

But when the family heard about the suggestion of marriage, they were shocked.

Njoku carried on as a live-in carer but told Mr Sturgeon she could not assist him in any suicide attempt.

The 30-year-old mother-of-one, now living in Polecraft Lane, Catford, London, pleaded not guilty to two charges of theft and allegations she took £28,000 from his account.

The former fish and chip shop employee, who once took a course in nursing, was said to have "raised the spirit" of the Sturgeon family by her cheerfulness - and the marriage proposal came after Mrs Sturgeon's death.

Prosecutor Peter Arnold claimed Njoku provided sexual services for the widower.

Giving evidence, Njoku said he enjoyed physical touching and would take photographs of her in her underwear and when she was naked in the bath.

She also said he planned to sell his large house and build a bungalow in the grounds; it would be a home for her son and he offered £25,000 "for the future" the court was told.

The trial was continuing this week.