Bournemouth man accused of murder said it was self-defence

Crime scene at off Boscombe Overcliff Drive in Bournemouth
Remains were found by a member of the public near a path linking the clifftop to the beach last August [BBC]

A man accused of killing and dismembering a man's body said he did it in self-defence, a court heard.

Benjamin Atkins, 49, and Debbie Pereira, 39, from Bournemouth, Dorset, are on trial for the murder of Simon Shotton.

The 48-year-old's legs were found in packages on the Manor Steps Zig Zag footpath on Boscombe seafront in Bournemouth in August 2023.

Both deny murder.

Winchester Crown Court was previously told a member of the public was sheltering under a tree when a package containing human remains landed beside her.

Benjamin Atkins, 49, and Debbie Pereira, 39
The pair were caught on CCTV walking with a hacksaw in Mr Atkins hand [PA Media]

Giving evidence, Mr Atkins said he first met Mr Shotton to buy drugs and that Mr Shotton would then provide drugs in lieu of paying rent.

He said they were "never pals" and he began to get frustrated with Mr Shotton for "treating our house like a hotel, very disrespectful".

Mr Atkins said he received a "threatening" message from Mr Shotton saying he owed £270 and on 18 August, Mr Shotton showed up at the house to confront Mr Atkins and Ms Pereira.

Mr Atkins said: "He had a knife in his hand, he poked me in the stomach with it a couple of times.

Benjamin Atkins
The court was shown police bodycam footage of Mr Atkins arrest [PA Media]

"He was going to kill me, there was no doubt about it.

"The only way I can describe it is terror."

Mr Atkins told the court he attempted to defend himself by stabbing Mr Shotton with the end of a plastic hairbrush until it snapped and hitting him over the head several times with a speaker.

He said that he went with Ms Pereira to sell Mr Shotton's phone at a Cash Creators shop, and added that was his co-defendant's "only involvement".

Describing his actions to dismember the body, Mr Atkins, a father-of-two, said he used "copious amounts of various drugs".

He told the court: "I wouldn't have done that if I wasn't under the influence, I wouldn't have cut him up. I was scared, I was traumatised, I was panicked, I was under extreme stress as well as under the influence.

"What I done was truly awful, it's horrendous what I have done and I deserve to be punished for what I have done.

"I am sorry to his family, I am sorry to my family. It's difficult for me to be remorseful to a man who was trying to kill me in my own house."

The trial continues.

Follow BBC South on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Send your story ideas to