A man charged with killing peace campaigner Hilda Murrell, 78, entered her home because the door had been open for several days, a jury has been told.
Hilda Murrell had suffered stab wounds, the court has heard
Andrew George told a girlfriend that his DNA and fingerprints were found inside because he went in to "have a look around".
Miss Murrell's partially-clothed body was discovered with stab wounds in a copse near Hunkington, Shrops, in 1984.
Mr George, 37, from Shrewsbury, denies kidnap and murder.
Stafford Crown Court heard that Anne Goode had lived with Mr George for six years and had visited him "quite a few times" whilst he was in custody at Blakenhurst Prison.
Andrew George is accused of Miss Murrell's murder
During a visit she asked him how his DNA and fingerprints had been found in Miss Murrell's house and he told her that her door had been open for a couple of days and he had gone in to "have a look around".
She said he had consistently denied any involvement in the murder.
Mr George, of Meadow Farm Drive, Harlescott, was 16 at the time of Miss Murrell's death and had been in care at a nearby children's home the court had previously heard.
He was arrested in June 2003.
His relationship with Ms Goode ended in September 2003.
The trial continues.