A taxi driver charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend has told a court it was "unusual and weird" when he woke up one morning to find she was not at home.

Ben Lacomba, 39, denies murdering mother-of-five Sarah Wellgreen, 46, on October 9 last year.

The beautician had not been seen since disappearing from the home she shared with Lacomba, in New Ash Green, the same month, London's Woolwich Crown Court heard.

Lacomba said he woke up on October 10 to find Ms Wellgreen had not left a message to say she had been away for the night.

He said he also noticed her telephones were on the bedside cabinets in her room.

Lacomba told the court: "I thought she has not even got her telephones with her. How can I contact her?"

He said he then saw her car was still outside the house and thought that was "weird and unusual as well".

He said he had parked in a different space to allow Ms Wellgreen to use the parking spot nearer the house.

Lacomba also said that one of the last times he saw her had been the previous night when she was in her bed, under the covers and on the telephone with her laptop nearby.

He said he was asleep in bed on the night of the alleged killing, but a witness claims neither he nor Ms Wellgreen were there.

Despite extensive searches by Kent Police, Ms Wellgreen's body has not been found.

Lacomba told the court the last driving job he did on the day of the alleged killing involved a 15-minute trip down muddy lanes.

He and Ms Wellgreen, who had endured an "acrimonious" period since splitting as a couple in 2014, had been living under the same roof since May 2018.

It came after Ms Wellgreen had asked him by WhatsApp message if they might "get back together as a family".

Lacomba said he was "shocked" by the message which was a "180-degree" turnaround, but he wanted to try to make it work.

Ms Wellgreen moved back into the family home in May 2018, but the situation was "quite surreal" as she seemed "quite positive", according to Lacomba.

They slept together but on his suggestion they started to take things more slowly until Ms Wellgreen later said it would be better if they were not a couple, the court heard.

They then slept in separate rooms but under the same roof.

Lacomba said Ms Wellgreen started seeing other men and, despite feeling a bit "mixed" about it, he was "always happy when Sarah was happy - that always made my life much easier".

He told the court he had fitted the house with a CCTV system more than a year before Ms Wellgreen moved in as a deterrent after he found his car tyres had been punctured.

The system had stopped working by the time of Ms Wellgreen's disappearance.

Lacomba said he had checked a neighbour's CCTV because he did not want to park his car in spaces that were not monitored.

Ms Wellgreen had also got a new £45,000-per-year job as a sales manager which came with a company car and she planned to buy Lacomba out of his share of the house, the court heard.

The trial continues.