A gardener who is accused of battering his teacher lover to death told police how it was a mistake she did not cry for help, a court heard.

Lynda Casey from south Croydon, was beaten around the head with stones by her married lover Peter Ling in Banstead Woods following a sex session, the Old Bailey jury was told.

The 54-year-old horticultural teacher’s naked body was found partially covered with leaves in Banstead Woods on August 13, two days after being reported missing by her family.

In a police interview Mr Ling, 50, who runs his own gardening firm in Wallington and was one of Mrs Casey’s students, said other walkers had passed by the pair in the woods after they had sex.

Mr Ling told police: “She could have easily called out and called rape, it seemed to me she wasn’t comfortable with me.

“It was a mistake she didn’t call out and then we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re in. I would not have had the chance to do anything.”

“Maybe that was the second mistake she made, the first one was going for a walk with me.”

Earlier in the week, the court heard Mr Ling had got wind of a second man in Mrs Casey’s life, named in court as Ian Tolfrey, after he hacked her email account.

He then met Mrs Casey on August 8 at the Rambler’s Rest public house car park in Chipstead, before walking to Banstead Woods, with the aim of questioning her about their relationship and “where things were going”.

After the couple talked Mr Ling had felt as if they were “connecting”.

He told cops: “She was being very warm and loving and we were holding each other and she was saying things like ‘love me, love me, hold me, hold me’.

“She was saying a lot of the right things, encouraging me to be close to her. She said: ‘Do you want to make love to me’... I did not do anything against her will. It was all very believable.

“Looking back I don’t know whether she felt she was in a dangerous place and she was having to say the right things.

“What changed? You tell me, I want to know. I guess it hit me it was all one big show.”

Mrs Casey, who taught at the Sutton College of Learning for Adults (Scola), suffered “massive damage to her forehead, face and skull consistent with blunt force trauma”, the jury heard.

She was estranged from her husband but still shared a home in The Drive, Coulsdon, and had been having an affair for more than two years with Mr Ling, also married for 23 years.

The case continues.