A COUPLE are accused of murdering a 49-year-old man in their flat before dismembering his body with a saw.

Benjamin Lee Atkins then burnt the head in the back garden, before disposing of the other body parts around Boscombe with Debbie Ann Pereira, a court heard.

When Pereira asked Atkins if he regretted anything, he told her ‘I'd find another one and do it again. Drug dealers, and pushers. Kill, decapitate, and eat the f***er.’

The trial into the alleged murder of Simon Shotton began at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday, April 11.

Prosecutor Paul Cavin KC opened the trial with details of the first discovery of human remains in the area of Manor Steps zig zag, off Boscombe Overcliff Drive.

The court heard how on August 26, 2023, a woman was taking shelter from the rain under some overhanging branches on the zig zag when something “landed with a thud” beside her.

Bournemouth Echo: Officers in the area of Manor Steps Zig ZagOfficers in the area of Manor Steps Zig Zag (Image: NQ)

She described it as a “large package” which “smelt badly as if something was rotting”.

The package contained a leg, and part of the foot had “become exposed”, explained Mr Cavin KC.

The police were called, and following searches by officers, a similar package containing another leg was discovered nearby.

A pathologist conducted a post-mortem of both legs the following day, and samples taken identified them as belonging to a man named Simon Shotton.

Following enquiries, it was established that Mr Shotton had been living at an address in Aylesbury Road with Pereira, 39, and Atkins, 49.

Police also obtained information that a final call had been made from Mr Shotton’s phone at 5.25pm on August 18, to Cash Creators in Boscombe.

Mr Cavin KC said: “The police went straight down there to see whether they knew anything about Mr Shotton, and those enquiries proved crucial because on the same day that Mr Shotton's number had called Cash Creators, a woman named Debbie Pereira brought an iPhone into the shop in exchange for cash.”

Police attended the Aylesbury Road address on September 1, where they located Pereira in the living room.

Despite telling officers she was alone, her boyfriend Atkins was found hiding behind a wheelbarrow in the garden.

Two black bin bags containing Mr Shotton’s severed arms were later discovered underneath the wheelbarrow.

The pair were arrested under suspicion of murder.

Mr Cavin KC described how a further “grisly discovery” was made on September 6 in Boscombe Chine Gardens.

Bournemouth Echo: Remains were discovered in Boscombe Chine GardensRemains were discovered in Boscombe Chine Gardens (Image: NQ)

A police officer following “the smell of death” discovered a black wheely suitcase in a hedgerow, covered in flies and maggots.

Inside was Mr Shotton’s headless torso.

Dr Deborah Cook carried out a postmortem examination of all the body parts found, and her assessment was that Mr Shotton’s limbs and head had been cut off with a saw “by an amateur” after his death.

Mr Shotton also had injuries to his wrists and hands “consistent with being defensive in nature”, and multiple small puncture wounds around his shoulder blade.

Mr Cavin KC said: "In other words - somebody had stabbed him multiple times with a small, sharp, object repeatedly in the back."

Prosecution suggested that Mr Shotton was killed by both Pereira and Atkins on the morning of August 18 in the utility room of their Aylesbury Road flat.

Bournemouth Echo: Police and forensics at the Aylesbury Road flatPolice and forensics at the Aylesbury Road flat (Image: Daily Echo)

They suggested Mr Shotton was still alive at 6.57am, with a phone call believed to have taken place between him and Mr Atkins at this time.

A text message from Mr Shotton to Atkins was also recovered which said 'you better have my money when you get home'.

By 11.55am, the defendants are seen on CCTV walking “arm in arm” to Cash Creators in Boscombe, where they sold Mr Shotton’s phone for £15.

Prosecutors suggested that both Pereira and Atkins were involved in the dismembering and concealment of Mr Shotton's body in the days that followed.

They presented footage of the pair stealing a hacksaw together from Wilko in the Sovereign Centre on August 19. 

In the defendants' police interviews, Atkins gave ‘no comment’ while Pereira gave a range of different accounts.

Among these were that Mr Shotton had stayed at her and Atkins’ flat in Aylesbury Road for two nights, and then in a tent in their garden.

She said she woke up one morning to Mr Shotton and all of this belongings gone, but saw Atkins “sawing wood” and using the fire pit as the day went on.

Police covertly recorded the pair when they were transported to Poole Magistrates' Court shortly after their arrest.

In the recording, Atkins can be heard telling Pereira ‘I went into the garden to get rid of the f****** arms', before laughing.

Pereira asks him, ‘do you regret anything?', to which he responds 'I’ll look ‘em straight in the eye and say, yeah. I'd do it again and again and again. If you let me go today, I'd find another one and do it again. Drug dealers, and pushers. Kill, decapitate, and eat the f***er.'

Pereira later told her solicitor she had spoken to Atkins in the police van, and he said he’d told his solicitor, 'if he admitted that he did it, if he admitted that he cooked Simon’s head up and ate his cheeks, would it get me off the hook?’.

The defendants were charged with murder, perverting the course of justice, and preventing the burial of a corpse.

The jury were told how during a court hearing on October 20, 2023, Atkins admitted that he had killed Mr Shotton, and dismembered and disposed of his body.

At a later hearing on February 16, he admitted to burning Mr Shotton’s head and disposing of the fragments in Walpole Lane in Boscombe. 

Bournemouth Echo: Forensics in Walpole Lane Forensics in Walpole Lane (Image: NQ)

The court heard how neighbours said Atkins was having bonfires with “awful putrid” smells around the time of Mr Shotton’s death.

Another neighbour said Atkins had asked them to borrow some magnolia paint, because his nephew had been “drawing on the walls” and he wanted to paint over it.

Atkins now faces a single count of murder, but his defence barristers say self-defence is a ‘potential issue’.

Pereira's defence barristers say she denies any part in the killing of Mr Shotton, and denies dismembering and disposing of his body.

Pereira maintains this was all Atkins.

The trial continues.