A MAN who stabbed his wife to death told a jury how he only 'snapped out' of his trance-like state when he saw her blood dripping off his knife.

Brian Smart who is accused of murdering his 27-year-old estranged wife Sarah claims he cannot remember the incident in which he stabbed her in the chest and back at the family home in Barton Village Road, Barton, Oxford.

Smart, 40, admits the manslaughter of Mrs Smart, but denies murder, claiming diminished responsibility.

He told Oxford Crown Court this week about events leading up to the alleged murder on January 5 last year, when he claims he was planning to kill himself, not his wife.

He claims he spent the afternoon in his car in Brill, and drank vodka and three cans of lager, and took headache and sleeping tablets in the hope of taking his life because "he did not deserve to live" and "wanted to take the pain away".

But when he went to take the knife out of the glove compartment of his car he caught a glimpse of some family pictures and decided to abandon his suicide attempt and make one last effort to save his marriage, driving to the family home at about 6.30pm.

But the court heard from Barton resident Heidi Castle who claimed to have seen Smart's car parked in the road from 2.30pm on the day of the incident.

Reports from forensic scientists were also presented to the court, which showed Smart's blood contained only traces of the drugs he claimed to have taken and his blood alcohol level was below the drink-drive limit.

He told the court: "I did not mean to go back that night but one of those pictures was of Sarah.

"She looked so happy, she was pregnant with my child. I just thought I should fight for her. I was overcome with emotion.

"I thought maybe she could still take me back."

Sobbing and shaking, Smart then told the court: "I felt so small and so angry with myself. I remember walking up on to the pavement near the house. The children had seen me and were shouting 'Daddy, Daddy!

"I was destroyed. I was losing what was happening. The next thing Sarah had the front door open. I went inside. I don't really know what's going on, Sarah's on the phone.

"She said something about the kids being better off without this. She said 'Brian's about to leave'. I felt crushed. I felt so small and meaningless.

"There was no one shouting. She said something about feeling for Rebecca (his first wife).

"But I can't remember stabbing her. I can't help you and tell you what happened."

He later added: "Then I was standing a few feet in front of the doorway and was suddenly brought out of this trance by seeing blood on a knife.

"Something was telling me Sarah was hurt. I remember holding her and cuddling her.

"Then the handcuffs went on and I thought 'I might have something to do with this'. I thought 'Oh God, it can't be something to do with me'."

Defending, Julian Baughan, said: "Do you accept you killed your wife?"

Smart replied: "I accept I have done it, but I do not know I have done it. I can't explain why I took the life of someone I love so much."

The court heard how Smart, a trained optician and a religious man, had knelt next to his wife as she lay bleeding to death, saying: "Daddy loves the kids, wake up, wake up. Let me have the kids and then you can go wherever you want."

The court heard the couple had separated in December 2004 and Smart had been suffering from depression and feeling suicidal ever since.

He had previously been treated at the psychiatric unit at Littlemore Hospital following a mental breakdown after the collapse of his first marriage in 1998.

The case continues.