Actor Robert Blake murdered his celebrity-obsessed wife Bonny Lee Bakley after he failed to enlist a hitman to do the job, a Los Angeles court has heard.

Prosecutors claimed Monday (20DEC04) Blake shot Bakley in the head because he was desperate to erase her from his infant daughter's life.

However, lawyer SHELLIE SAMUELS told the jury Blake fell to pieces after murdering his wife in the car park of an Italian restaurant in Studio City - and couldn't summon the composure to return to the plush eaterie to establish his alibi.

The defence argue there is no proof linking Blake to the crime, and insist the only alleged eye witnesses were two hallucination-riddled drug addicts whose observations can't be taken seriously.

Both sides agreed Blake wasn't a wealthy man and that Bakley had conned lovelorn men out of money in a lonely hearts club scheme before she met the BARETTA TV star.

They were also in agreement that Blake, 71, loved the daughter they had together, ROSE, and that Bakley was obsessed with marrying a celebrity.

Blake - who married Bakley in 2001 - faces a charge of murder and two charges of solicitation of murder. The case continues.

21/12/2004 19:54