A man told jurors how an argument with his lover led to him putting his hand around her throat and smothering her face with a pillow so that she would “be silent”.

Laszlo Gyarmati, 29, and Alexandra Kovacs, 25, had had sex before discussing a plan to arrange sham marriages between Hungarian women and foreign men to earn extra money.

But when Miss Kovacs said she knew of a 20-year-old girl she could arrange to be married, Mr Gyarmati disagreed.

With the help of an interpreter, he told Central Criminal Court: “I told her that this girl was not going to be good because she was 20 years old, she was too young, she didn’t speak English and she was going to be caught.

“We argued about this for a while and then I told her to stop. I told her it was fine, calm down and just stop it, but she didn’t stop.”

Mr Gyarmati, who said he had smoked cannabis and sniffed MDMA that evening, then covered his ears with his hands.

He said Miss Kovacs carried on talking “as if she were to have done it deliberately” and then he put his hand over her mouth.

Mr Gyarmati, of Station Road, Finchley, said: “She was unable to take my hand off her mouth and she started to wave her limbs about and was kicking.

“I became nervous because she didn’t stop. She started to kick even more firmly and then I got hold of her throat. I wanted her to stop.”

Mr Gyarmati told the court Miss Kovacs “shrieked for help” and so he put one hand over her throat.

He then described hearing someone at a door, before putting a pillow over Miss Kovacs’s face “so that she should be silent”.

When he realised no one was coming into the bedroom, he described removing the pillow and realising Miss Kovacs was dead.

He said: “I could not believe that this had happened. I was unwell. I sweated to the extent that if I had been covered in water.”

He then covered Miss Kovacs’s body in a blanket before going to sleep.

When he woke up in the early hours of Thursday July 18, he waited until he could not hear anyone else in the house, and went downstairs to get his trainers when he spotted a big, black suitcase.

Mr Gyarmati “suddenly” thought about hiding Miss Kovacs’s body, and he went upstairs, removed her clothes so that “she could not be recognised” and put her naked body in the case.

He then placed some of her clothes, including the dress she had worn the night before, into a plastic carrier bag and left the house.

He got rid of the plastic bag near a demolition site and wheeled the suitcase until he came across Dollis Valley Greenwalk and “automatically” went in and left the suitcase there.

Mr Gyarmati has pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denies murdering Miss Kovacs.

The trial continues.