The man accused of murdering a Vancouver woman may have lived with her decomposing body for several weeks, prosecutors told a jury Monday.

Daniel Alphonse Paul has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of 36-year-old Crystal Rose Paul, whose body was discovered in his East Vancouver basement suite in March 2015.

It had been weeks since anybody had heard from the victim, Crown counsel Daniel Mulligan told a B.C. Supreme Court jury on the first day of Daniel Paul's trial.

The accused killer was arrested near the Vancouver police station after a month-long search that stretched into the U.S. He and the victim were in a relationship.

Daniel Alphonse Paul

Daniel Alphonse Paul is accused of killing his girlfriend, Crystal Rose Paul. (Vancouver Police Department)

Crystal Rose Paul was a mother of five, and relative Karen Clarke told CBC News outside the court that the slaying left deep wounds in the family.

"There aren't really any words that can describe how your heart breaks in that second when you hear the news that she's gone. Just, for the whole family, Rose was the central figure. She was the glue," she told CBC News.

The trial is expected to last three weeks, with testimony from the accused's landlord, the victim's daughter and a blood spatter expert.

With files from Brenna Rose