A MAN accused of murder was “casual and relaxed” when stopped by police only hours later, a court was told.

The former gay lover of car dealer Christopher Hartley, who was gunned down on a country road near Clayton West, was stopped by police on the morning after the alleged murder.

David Large’s car was pulled over by officers after 45-year-old Christopher Hartley had been shot twice during an alleged contract killing in a lay-by last September.

A crown court jury heard yesterday that Large, who denies being involved in the murder, was compliant, but did not ask why he had been stopped.

In a statement, Pc James Kitchen said Large was told there had been “an incident” and officers wanted to speak to him at Wood Street station in Wakefield.

While another officer parked up Large’s car, he was said to have been “very relaxed and chatty”.

“Large never asked what the incident was about or why he had been stopped,” said Pc Kitchen.

On the way to the police station, Large did ask what the incident was, but was told the officers would explain it to him.

At one point Large said he had not got in until 1am because he was in London.

Pc Kitchen said it was strange that he volunteered that information as he was not asked what he had been doing.

On arrival at the police station, 35-year-old Large, of Rona Croft, Rothwell, was told that Mr Hartley had been shot and displayed all the normal signs of being genuinely upset.

During lengthy questioning as a witness, Large gave details of his sexual and business relationship with Mr Hartley and described how he had travelled to London to collect some money on the day his closest friend had been killed.

The court heard that Mr Hartley, who lived in a five-bedroom detached house in Batley Road, Tingley, was not openly gay and that the two men had had four or five separate sexual relationships over the years.

Large described Mr Hartley as volatile and said there had been physical altercations in the past.

The prosecution has alleged that Large was involved in the killing because he wanted to continue a relationship with Netherton woman Dawn Mallinson, but when he was questioned shortly after the murder he denied being in any kind of relationship himself.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the two men had been due to fly out to Mr Hartley’s villa in Alicante two days after he was shot dead.

Large told detectives that he had driven straight home after his trip to London and said he was “completely shocked” by the news the next day that his friend had been murdered.

He initially said that he did not know of anyone who would want to cause harm to Mr Hartley, but later during questioning he suggested that a man had threatened to shoot him.

Large also suggested that Mr Hartley may have been owed money after becoming involved in buying and selling drugs.

Mr Hartley was blasted in the head and chest with a shotgun and the prosecution allege that his ex-lover Large and Simon Mullen, 39, lured him to the country road on the pretext of a drugs deal.

It is alleged Large wanted Mr Hartley killed so he could continue the relationship and Mullen was paid to be the gunman.

Mullen, of South Shields, allegedly went on a £25,000 spending spree days after the murder.

Both Large and Mullen deny murder. The trial continues.