A Kiwi property developer charged with murdering his heiress wife for her "vast fortune" said he "froze" when he discovered her lifeless body in a swimming pool.
Prosecutors allege that Donald McPherson, born Alexander James Lang, killed Paula Leeson after taking out a series of insurance policies against the life of the wealthy heiress.
Manchester Crown Court has heard allegations that 47-year-old McPherson killed Leeson while the couple was on a mini-break at a remote cottage in Denmark, before staging her death to appear an accident.
The Manchester Evening News reported the court heard a transcript of the police interview with McPherson, who denies the charge.
McPherson told the interviewing officer that on June 6, the last day of their holiday, the couple had something to eat and planned to stay at the cottage until their flight home later that evening.
He said he went for a "dip" in the pool before going to bed for a nap, where Leeson was sleeping.
"I woke up and she wasn't next to me," McPherson said.
"I looked around the house and ended up going to the back toilet and I saw her there.
"I froze. I was in shock, in fear, I was in complete fear and panic, complete panic.
"I just remember getting in the pool to try and get her out of the pool.
"Just seeing her there was horrendous. Horrific."
Jurors heard McPherson say he tried unsuccessfully to pull his wife from the pool before running for help.
He contacted emergency services before he said he "found some strength" and pulled Leeson from the water, attempting CPR.
"I'd never done CPR before, it was horrific to do that on my own wife, I couldn't believe it," he said.
The court also heard that Leeson "wasn't so keen on water" and neither took swimming costumes on the trip.
The BBC reported the testimony of Professor Peter Leth, an expert in forensic medicine, who told the court that Leeson had 13 separate injuries on her head and body.
Leth said that while her injuries did not indicate a struggle causing her to go into the pool, violence inflicted by another person could not be ruled out.
However, he noted: "It's possible to drown a person without much struggle, if you are heavier than this person and the person is taken by surprise. That would not leave any marks of any kind."
He agreed with McPherson's lawyer that the injuries could have been caused by Leeson fainting in the pool and later attempts at CPR.
John Ryder QC, asked: "These injuries could be explained by falling and later attempts to recover or resuscitate her?"
Leth replied: "Yes, that's exactly what we have said in our report."
The court previously heard that the first paramedic on the scene found McPherson giving Leeson CPR as she lay beside the pool.
The paramedic said McPherson "had not pressed hard enough", and had "apologised because he had an injured shoulder".
Prosecutor David McLachlan QC said: "He thought that Donald McPherson's resuscitation attempts to supposedly save his wife's life were very bad, as there was still so much water inside her lungs" and asked the jurors to question whether McPherson "was really trying", the Daily Mail reported.
McPherson's actions after his wife's death have also come under scrutiny in the trial.
Days after her death, while McPherson was still in Denmark, he completed an online application to join a support group called Widowed and Young.
McLachlan said: "His wife had been dead eight days, her body had still yet to be repatriated and laid to rest, and he was joining Widowed and Young."
McLachlan told the court that McPherson later described the group as "like Tinder for widows" in a conversation with his personal trainer.
The morning after Leeson's death, McPherson shifted funds from their joint accounts to accounts under his own name.
Prosecutors say made the transfers to reduce his credit card debt.
Leeson's mother Betty Leeson previously read a statement to the court in which she said it was "strange" that McPherson did not visit his wife's grave for months after her funeral or show emotion at her funeral, the Press Association reported.
Betty Leeson added: "I know he is seeing someone else. Paula was only buried in July. He was seeing an Asian lady by October."
The deceased's brother Neville Leeson told the jury McPherson was "reluctant" to hand over Leeson's iPhone after her death.
When the family eventually got the phone they found selfies of the smiling couple taken on the day she died, despite McPherson telling police that they had been in bed and when he got up he found her lifeless body in the pool.
The court previously heard that McPherson, originally from Auckland, was keeping secrets from Leeson, whom he married in 2014 in a lavish ceremony at a historic British castle.
McLachlan told the jury that the "big secret" was the insurance policies, but also told them that forensic handwriting experts would prove that McPherson forged her will to make himself the beneficiary.
By 2016, McPherson was paying nearly $900 a month in premiums for the life insurance policies. Prosecutors said he never missed a payment despite heavy debts.
McLachlan also told the jury that McPherson, who grew up in Auckland with his parents and two sisters, told his wife that he was an orphan to avoid discussing his past.
He had also trained to be a pilot, keeping his training secret from Leeson by claiming to be working if she called during his flying lessons.
McLachlan previously told the jury: "The prosecution case is, that while at first glance it appeared that her untimely death was an accident, the evidence will show that it was not.
"It was a sinister planned killing and the person responsible for her drowning was none other than her husband Donald McPherson.
"The motive for the drowning was the oldest and simplest one in the book. It was financial.
"He stood to gain a vast fortune by her death. This was something which was not known by the Danish authorities in the immediate aftermath of Paula Leeson's death."
The trial continues.