A MAN accused of setting fire to his ex-wife and murdering her at her hair salon has told a court that he had gone downstairs to her premises with a container of milk.

Ahmad Yazdanparast said that she was not on fire when he left but there had been a "very frightening explosion". Yazdanparast, 61, denied pouring petrol over Ahdieh Yazdanparast and setting fire to her. He said his former wife had blown a kiss and asked him to get milk and he went to get some.

His solicitor advocate Vincent Belmonte asked what was in the container he took to her salon in Maxwell Place, Stirling. He replied: "It was 100 per cent milk."

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He told the High Court in Edinburgh his former wife, 46, had thrown something at him which hit him on the face.

He said she was crouching down near a sink and he went to help her but suddenly there was an explosion.

Yazdanparast said he could not breathe and tried to get out to call for help.

"She was not on fire. Definitely at the time I left she was not on fire," he said.

He said he never wanted to separate from his wife. The couple, both originally from Iran, split up in 2010 before divorcing last year.

Yazdanparast has denied murdering his 46-year-old former wife on October 12 last year at Venue Hair and Beauty Salon in Maxwell Place, Stirling.

It is alleged that he assaulted her and poured petrol or a similar flammable substance over her head and body, ignited it and set fire to her and that she was so severely injured she died in hospital later that day.

Yazdanparast has lodged a special defence maintaining that he had acted in self defence.

The trial continues.