THE men who murdered Bournemouth dad Rico Dardis have been jailed for life.

Paul Gerlach and Louis Borzoni were found guilty of the killing by a jury after a three week trial, which heard the pair pushed the intoxicated 30-year-old into the sea on May 27 last year after a fight broke out.

Mr Dardis drowned while the defendants taunted him and circled him in Gerlach's speedboat No Chance.

Then Gerlach drove the speedboat over the father-of-one's lifeless body, dismembering it.

The Hon Mr Justice Blake said Mr Dardis's last conscious memory was likely to have been the sound of the propeller approaching.

Sentencing at Winchester Crown Court, he said: "Neither of you have shown any remorse for his death. You have shown a callous disregard for his dignity as a human being."

He said the pair had done nothing to help Mr Dardis in the water or offer him "some slim chance of survival".

"You, Mr Gerlach, deliberately drove the boat over him, causing catastrophic injuries.

"You, Mr Borzoni, were aware of what he was going to do and were in agreement with it."

He added: "You have deprived a family of a son, and as his former partner makes clear, deprived a nine-year-old of a father and that relationship and guidance for the rest of his life."

Gerlach, 51, of no fixed abode, was given a minimum term of 17 years before becoming eligible for parole, while Borzoni, 50, of Hamilton Road, Boscombe, was given a 15-year minimum term.

In mitigation, it was argued that the murder had been preceded by a fight, and was not premeditated.

The body of Mr Dardis, of Hawkwood Mews, Boscombe, was found washed up beside the boat near groynes at Seaway Avenue, Friar’s Cliff, Christchurch.

In a victim impact statement read to the court his partner Paula, the mother of his nine-year-old son, told of the devastating moment when they heard he had been found dead.

Rico Dardis's family: 'It's been the most heartbreaking time of our lives' 

RICO Dardis’s family, who sat in court throughout the trial and during the sentencing, said in a statement: "Rico was a loving, caring son, brother and dad.

"We have been blessed to have had him in our lives.

"Rico's ability to bring laughter to people in any situation was infectious. Rico was able to light up any room.

"The horrific way Rico lost his life will stay with us forever. It has been the most difficult and heartbreaking time of our lives.

"But his light and spirit will live on, and we will make him proud and remain strong as a family unit.

"We would like to thank Dorset Police for all their hard work; and the prosecution, Mr Bowes and Miss Squires.

"A special thank you to DS Webster and DC Todd, whose help and support has kept us going through this past year."