Jurors at the Old Bailey hear how Clive Wille threatened to kill his wife after she asked for a divorce

An architect tried to smother his wife with a pillow after she asked for a divorce, a court heard on Monday.

Clive Wille, 56, said "die, you b****" as he held down wife Sue on the bed at their home in Addiscombe, Croydon, in April, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

Wille bit her twice on the arm and hand during the struggle before stopping and dialling 999, said prosecutor Sally Halkerston.

The court heard that he later told police officers: "I want to plead guilty to attempted murder."

Halkerston said Wille had straddled his wife and used the pillow "with quite some force" and for "at least a couple of minutes".

"He didn't just mean it as a joke or to teach her a lesson. He really meant it. He meant to kill her," she said.

Wille denies attempting to murder his wife but has admitted threats to kill.

The court heard that he had rung her earlier in the day and was "shouting and screaming" about a problem with their bank account.

When he returned to the house Halkerston said: "He tried to talk to her about money issues. At this stage the defendant was calm. However, this changed when Mrs Wille told him that she could not cope any more and wanted a divorce. He became angry and threatening."

Wille told police officers he was on medication for depression and had been drinking, the court heard.

The trial continues.