WINNIPEG -- A Crown prosecutor says a man on trial for first-degree murder maintained control over five women he lived with through surveillance, drugs and abuse.

Perez Cleveland has pleaded not guilty in the death of Jennifer Barrett, whose body was found in a barrel behind their Winnipeg home in December 2016.

The prosecutor told the jury in opening arguments that Cleveland tortured and killed Barrett, who was 42, because he thought he was losing control over her.

Court heard that Cleveland was in a relationship with Barrett and four other women and they all lived together in the same house.

Prosecutors say chemicals were used to speed up decomposition in the barrel and Barrett's remains were identified through DNA testing.