A WIDNES dad ‘cried a lot’ when he discovered his wife was having an affair with a work colleague, Chester Crown Court heard today.

Two days later Steven Cotterill was diagnosed with depression by a GP, prescribed medication and signed off work.

The 39-year-old from Brinton Close said: “It made me ill.”

Andrew Thomas, defending, said Cotterill was shocked to find out that his wife, Natasha, 32, had lied to him and slept with 35-year-old property accountant Matthew Charnock in January while he was on a night shift at Fiddlers Ferry.

The pair both worked for a community health partnership in Manchester.

Natasha, a financial manager, had said she was staying with a friend and only confessed after Cotterill drove to the girl’s home and discovered she was not there.

Prosecutor Gordon Cole told the court last week that the pair had been in a relationship since October.

Cotterill denies the murder of Mr Charnock and gave evidence for the first time today from the dock.

On Sunday, March 13 Cotterill came home from work early shortly after 10.30pm to get some milk, the court heard.

He said he thought Natasha and their 15-month-old son would be asleep.

As he pulled onto the drive of their home he saw ‘a tall figure of a man moving from the kitchen door’.

Cotterill admitted striking the man once with a metal wheel brace from his car.

“I was frightened for myself and the safety of my family,” he said.

“I assumed it to be a burglar.”

Asked why he attacked the man, Cotterill replied: “Because he attacked me.

“There was a struggle.

“I managed to get to the side of him. He was still coming towards me.”

Cotterill said the incident only lasted seconds.

A CT scan later confirmed that Mr Charnock had suffered a fractured skull and haemorrhage and had developed sepsis.

He was pronounced dead on March 16.

Cotterill said there had been tension in their marriage since October last year.

When he suspected Natasha might be seeing someone at work in December, she denied it claiming ‘they were just good friends'.

The trial continues.