A POLICE officer has described the moment he opened a suspicious package dumped on the seafront to uncover a human leg.

PC Craig Sillence told a court its “pungent smell” could be picked up from ten metres away.

He was one of the first on scene following the discovery of Simon Shotton’s remains at the zig zag off Boscombe Overcliff Drive.

Benjamin Atkins, 49, and Debbie Ann Pereira, 39, are facing trial at Winchester Crown Court for his murder.

On Friday, and day two of the trial, PC Sillence took to the stand.

He and PC Richards were first called to the zig zag on the afternoon of August 26, 2023.

The jury were shown footage from PC Sillence’s body worn camera, in which he is seen putting on gloves and approaching the package.

When prosecutor Paul Cavin KC asked him what he could smell on approach, PC Sillence responded, “there was a strong smell I associated with the decomposition of a body."

The officer said when he reached the package, he could see it was “the shape of a human leg” and likened it to a “boot”.

There was something white exposed, which looked like “a toe with a nail on it”, he told the court.

PC Sillence continued: "I opened the bag slightly to get a better look. I cut it open by only about 10cm and it was quite obvious from that opening that I was looking at a human foot."

Bournemouth Echo: Officers in the area of Manor Steps zig zagOfficers in the area of Manor Steps zig zag

Prosecutor Sam Barker then shared a statement from police sergeant Jennifer Hussey, who also attended the scene.

She described seeing the package after it had been partially opened by PC Sillence, and described the foot as being “discoloured with a green tinge”.

The bag it was in was “black plastic similar to a bin bag” and with tape to secure it, Sergeant Hussey said.

On the opening day of the trial, the jury heard how a member of the public reported the package after it landed beside her on the zig zag “with a thud”.

Once at the scene, Sergeant Hussey went up to an area of undergrowth she suspected the package had fallen from.

There, she located a second package, which was found to contain Mr Shotton’s second leg.

It has been suggested the first package was “dislodged” by bad weather, and fell down to the zig zag path.

Atkins has admitted to charges of perverting the course of justice, and preventing the burial of a corpse, but denies murder.

Pereira denies perverting the course of justice, preventing the burial of a corpse, and murder.

The trial continues.