DEFENDANTS Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush are linked to the murder of Jeffrey Howe through evidence including phone records, fibres, blood, and incriminating remarks, prosecutor Stuart Trimmer has told the St Albans Crown Court jury.

Summing up his case at the start of a month-long murder trial, he said the pair, who had refused to leave Mr Howe's Southgate flat, then conspired to kill him and take his home, money, car and other possessions.

He said Mr Howe had been stabbed in the back on the night of March 8, 2009, and his body soon cut into pieces before the pair left parts across Hertfordshire and Leicestershire.

He said: "Both these defendant were party to the actual killing.

"They must have been involved in the very substantial clean-up in the flat.

"They were both party to the dismembering of the body, and disposal of the body parts.

"They were both involved in a determined plan to hide the disappearance of Jeffrey Howe whilst making use of all that belonged to him."

The court heard that the victim's phone had been sold the next day, and his car sold on eBay soon afterwards, while both defendants had emptied his bank account by forging cheques.

Bush, he said, had used a computer in a St Albans library to make fraudulent purchases using Mr Howe's identity.

Mr Trimmer said the pair's journey to Leicestershire, where their alleged victim's head was found in a field on March 31, could be traced from CCTV and ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) images.

Bush, he said, had spoken incoherently about the killing to friends when drunk, and Marshall had previously told people about disposing of dead bodies.

Marshall, he said, had connections to Wheathampstead, where an arm was found on March 29, while Bush had connections to the area of east Hertfordshire where other parts were found.

Former Park Street man Stephen Marshall, 37, recently of Ayot Path, Borehamwood, denies murder, but admits perverting the course of justice and obstructing a coroner, while Bush, a 21-year-old prostitute from Pickard Close, Southgate, denies all charges.