A police inspector left bloodstained trainers in a wheelie bin after killing his wife and dumping her body in a lake, a court has heard.
Darren McKie, 43, was seen twice by officers on patrol in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in the early hours of September 29 last year, before the body of his wife Leanne, 39, a detective constable, was discovered in Poynton Lake.
Chester Crown Court has heard the couple, who both worked for Greater Manchester Police, had debts of more than £100,000.
Nigel Power QC, prosecuting, said police officers first saw McKie walking, three and a half miles away from his home on Burford Close, at 1.30am on September 29.
About 45 minutes later police saw him again, this time wearing no shoes on his feet, and took him home where he had left the couple's three children alone, the court heard.
He told officers he had become concerned for his wife and was worried that she could have been in a car crash, so went out to look for her.
McKie said he had taken his trainers off and thrown them away because his "feet were rubbing".
Later that day, after his wife's body was discovered in the lake, officers recovered the New Balance trainers from a wheelie bin close to his home, where he had been seen walking earlier that morning, it was claimed.
Mr Power told the court DNA tests showed the trainers had been worn by the defendant and were stained with his wife's blood.
Mud on the trainers showed soil similar to that in the area where the body was found, jurors heard.
The court heard a post-mortem examination showed Mrs McKie was likely to have been killed at about midday, the day before she was found.
Her injuries were consistent with having been strangled and having a hand "forcibly placed over the mouth", Mr Power said.
When he was charged with murder McKie told officers: "I did not kill my wife."
Mr Power told the jury: "That is the issue you will have to decide in this case, whether it was Mr McKie who killed his wife or whether it was some other person."
The court heard McKie had given a prepared statement to police, in which he said he knew nothing about how his wife met her death.
In a second statement he said his wife would have "irrational worries" and would "fly off the handle easily and regularly".
He said they were in the process of sorting out debts but his wife "did not want to be reminded of it".
The court was read a statement from Mrs McKie's mother, Ellen Dodd, who said she and her husband Raymond thought Darren was a "nice person" and seemed "genuinely caring towards Leanne".
She said around five years ago Mrs McKie had been upset because she discovered her husband owed £20,000 on a credit card, but his parents had helped him with the debt.