A RETIRED betting shop manager from Wealdstone was killed by his wife and daughter just days after he had warned police, his GP and his friends the pair were trying to seriously harm him, a court was told.
Don Banfield, who disappeared from his Locket Road home on May 11 2001 and has not been seen since, was murdered the same day or that very weekend by wife Shirley Banfield, 64, and daughter Lynette Banfield, 41, the Old Bailey heard.
His body has never been found and the two women, who are accused of committing the crime to get their hands on the Trindad-born 63-year-old's share of the proceeds of the sale of the house, deny murder.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett said Mr Banfield, who retired as manager of the William Hill branch in Hampstead, north west London five months before he disappeared, advised his GP only the day before he went missing of the "mental and physical torture" of his difficult domestic life.
"He said a fortnight or so earlier he had woken in the middle of the night to find his hands had been handcuffed behind his back and his wife was trying to tie down his legs and put a plastic bag over his head, and that he had managed to extricate himself," Mr Aylett said.
"He told of another incident where he had woken to find his daughter spraying furniture polish in his face and when he tried to confront his daughter, his wife had screamed at him and she had brought a knife into the room and they said to him: 'Why don't you die?'"
Mr Banfield spoke to police in Wealdstone twice that week, further alleging he thought his wife was trying to poison his food. But he specifically requested officers not to act.
Mr Aylett said: "It begs the question, why did Mr Banfield go to the police at all? The prosecution suggest Mr Banfield did so as a precaution, as a kind of insurance policy, so if anything happened to him, he wanted the police to know where to start looking."
The last day Mr Banfield was seen alive, on May 11 2001, he and his wife, who was on long term sickness absence from a job at the Inland Revenue, signed the contract to sell their house for s179,000.
Mr Aylett said: "When he signed the contract, he was unwittingly signing his death warrant."
Months later Mrs Banfield brought a High Court case in order to have daughter Lynette appointed as the trustee of her missing husband's half of the profits from the sale - approximately s59,000 after legal expenses were deducted.
Mother and daughter used the proceeds to relocate to Whitby in Yorkshire, then York, before settling in Canterbury, Kent, where they were arrested later after police reopened Mr Banfield's missing persons file.
Both defendants have admitted conspiracy to defraud William Hill, by falsifying a letter to convince the firm to divert Mr Banfield's company pension payments to their bank account.
They further admit conspiracy to pervert the course of justice between August 12 2009 and July 6 2011 in that they lied to police by saying Mr Banfield had visited them in Canterbury in Christmas 2008, and admit making a false instrument, namely submitting a forged application form for disability living allowance to the Department of Work and Pensions.
Mrs Banfield admits a further charge of dishonestly retaining wrongful credit of s34,382 - Mr Banfield's state pension.
The trial continues.