THREE men are due to stand trial tomorrow accused of the murder of a businessman during an alleged botched burglary.

Insurance executive Guy Hedger, who was 61, died of a shotgun injury to the torso inflicted at his home in Castlewood, St Ives, in the early hours of April 30.

Police alleged at least two intruders had entered the property before Mr Hedger was fatally injured.

Mr Hedger's husband, Simon-Pierre Hedger-Cooper, 48, was also in the house at the time of the alleged incident.

Jason Baccus, 41, and Scott Keeping, 44, both of Verney Close, Bournemouth, and Kevin Downton, 40, of Winterborne Stickland, near Blandford, were later charged with murder.

Helen Keeping, also known as Helen Cooper, 40, from Poole, has pleaded not guilty to two charges of assisting an offender relating to Baccus by allegedly disposing of stolen property and fellow-defendant Keeping, by allegedly providing him with a false alibi and disposing of stolen property.

The three men have also pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated burglary, possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and two charges of burglary of industrial premises in Verwood on the same day as the alleged murder.

A trial is due to begin at Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday morning.

In September, detectives searching for a weapon connected to the death of Mr Hedger found parts of a sawn-off shotgun in the River Stour near Canford Parish Church.

Officers also searched the river at West Parley during the summer.

Charity Crimestoppers put up a £10,000 reward in July for information leading to the recovery of the firearm used.