A MAN has been found guilty of murdering his lodger in what has been described as a ‘truly disturbing case’.

Benjamin Atkins was found guilty of murdering 49-year-old Simon Shotton by a majority jury verdict.

Atkins murdered Mr Shotton at his flat in Aylesbury Road in Boscombe on August 18 last year.

Mr Shotton had been living with Atkins and his girlfriend Debbie Pereira at the time, giving the couple drugs in lieu of rent money.

After the killing, Atkins and Pereira sold Mr Shotton’s belongings to a pawn shop and stole a hacksaw from Wilko which was later used to dismember him.

The couple were arrested at their flat on September 1, and were both charged with murder, perverting the course of justice and preventing the burial of a corpse. 

Bournemouth Echo: Atkins and PereiraAtkins and Pereira (Image: Social media)

Atkins, 49, admitted to perverting the course of justice and preventing the burial of a corpse but denied murder. 

Pereira, 39, denied all three charges against her.

They faced a six week trial at Winchester Crown Court, beginning on April 10.

Atkins told the jury he killed Mr Shotton in self-defence – an account prosecutors said was “nonsense”.

He also recalled cutting up Mr Shotton's body in his garden with a hacksaw, burning his head, and disposing of his body parts around Boscombe.

Pereira claimed no involvement in Mr Shotton’s killing, dismemberment or disposal, but admitted to the charge of preventing the burial of a corpse mid-way through the trial.

She was found guilty of perverting the course of justice by a unanimous jury verdict, but was found not guilty of murder.

Bournemouth Echo: Simon ShottonSimon Shotton (Image: Dorset Police)

Kirsty Gordon, a senior crown prosecutor with CPS Wessex, said after the verdicts: “This was a truly disturbing case which shocked the residents of Bournemouth and its surrounding towns.

“Atkins and Pereira’s cruelty and lack of humanity is laid bare – after Mr Shotton was murdered by Atkins in cold blood over a minor dispute, they robbed him the dignity of a proper burial.”

Detective chief inspector Neil Third, of MCIT, added: “Our thoughts are very much with the family of Mr Shotton, who have suffered the unspeakable trauma of not only losing their loved one, but living with the knowledge that his body has been dismembered and attempts made to conceal the remains.”

Atkins and Pereira will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court at a later date.