TWO men accused of the "callous" murder of Boscombe man Rico Dardis told family members they had "cut him in half", a court has heard.

Paul Mark Gerlach, 51, and Louis Borzoni, 50, were covertly recorded by police officers after they were released on bail following the death of the 30-year-old on May 27 last year.

It is alleged that all three had been drinking on board Gerlach's speedboat No Chance before the defendants pushed Mr Dardis overboard and ran him over.

His dismembered body was seen floating in the surf near groynes at Seaway Avenue, Friar's Cliff, Christchurch.

Prosecutor Michael Bowes QC told Winchester Crown Court that although both Gerlach and Borzoni deny killing Mr Dardis, recordings covertly made by officers captured Gerlach telling his former wife that he "whacked the throttle down" after the pair pushed him into the water, it is alleged.

The prosecutor also said that Borzoni told his brother: "I killed the bloke then dropped the body in the sea and ran it over with the propeller", before adding: "Who'd have thought me, the little killer man, would grow up to do something like this?"

See our coverage of day one of the murder trial at Winchester Crown Court

Police officers called to the scene by witnesses who believed they had spotted a body in the water discovered the torso of Mr Dardis floating off shore.

Inspections made of the boat, which prosecutors say had been "abandoned" by the defendants, revealed a leg entangled in the propeller.

Mr Bowes said Gerlach and Borzoni caught a taxi shortly after leaving the scene, where driver Jaya Dahal spotted blood on one of the defendant's faces.

When he asked the men if they had enjoyed their day, it is alleged that Gerlach replied: "Yeah, we murder", before adding: "Ha - just joking".

Both were then seen at a Southbourne convenience store where they spent around ten minutes choosing drinks, it is said.

Shop assistant Helen Coe, who the prosecutor said was "shocked" by their appearance, asked what had happened to them as they passed by her till.

She later told police that one replied: "Oh, you should see the other guy, he's dead".

Shortly afterwards, both defendants were arrested, and it is alleged that Gerlach said while under observation: "Look at all this blood on me - anyone would think I'd murdered someone, but I haven't."

He later told officers: "All the blood's from me and him [Borzoni] - we do a kind of fight club."

Gerlach, of no fixed abode, and Borzoni, of Hamilton Road, Boscombe, deny murdering Mr Dardis.

The trial continues.