Rico Dardis murder trial: accused tells jury young father 'turned on us'

Bournemouth Echo: VICTIM: Rico Dardis VICTIM: Rico Dardis

TWO men accused of murdering a young father told police he “attacked” them, a court heard.

During interviews with officers shortly after their arrest, Paul Mark Gerlach, 51, and Louis Borzoni, 50, said Rico Dardis, had “turned on them” as they sat together on Gerlach’s speedboat.

The three men had spent May 27 last year together on the craft, named No Chance, before Mr Dardis became “aggravated”, a jury sitting at Winchester Crown Court heard.

Prosecutors allege that the defendants murdered the 30-year-old by pushing him overboard and mowing him down with the boat.

During his first interview with police, Gerlach claimed that Mr Dardis “began punching Lou” before turning on him when he tried to intervene. He alleged that Mr Dardis then fell from the back of the boat and became entangled in the propeller after the argument ended.

“He was basically cut in half,” he said.

“We did get to the side and have a look. I think Lou tried to get hold of him.”

He said he became aware that Mr Dardis was no longer sitting at the back of the boat when the engine cut out.

However, neither of the men attempted to call the emergency services, it was said.

During his interview Gerlach said: “It was quite a hectic situation. It wasn’t all cool and calculated.”

He told officers that neither he or Borzoni spoke in detail about what had happened in the immediate aftermath, adding: “We said, ‘It’s terrible isn’t it’. “We were pretty drunk.”

Prosecutors allege that the speedboat then drifted into shore, where the defendants were approached by members of the public who had spotted the torso of Mr Dardis in the sea.

Gerlach admitted during interview that he had left before police arrived, but said this was to bring his tender round to try and free the speedboat.

Offices investigating the scene discovered one of Mr Dardis’s legs was jammed in the propeller.

Gerlach, of no fixed abode, and Borzoni, of Hamilton Road, Boscombe, deny murder.

The trial continues.

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