A 40-year-old man accused of shooting a businessman dead said he did not wish to discuss visits to his friends' houses on the day because 'they would not like to be involved', a court heard.

Kevin Downton, of Winterborne Stickland, near Blandford, is one of three men on trial at Winchester Crown Court accused of the murder of Guy Hedger.

The 61-year-old was fatally shot during a botched burglary at his £1 million home in Castlewood, near Ringwood, in the early hours of April 30.

When asked in police interview if he had been involved in the burglary and shooting, Downton replied: "I have no involvement in that address and I have no involvement in that murder."

When asked if he had discharged a firearm at the address and shot Mr Hedger, he replied: "No."

Downton told police earlier that evening he had been shopping at Toys R Us in Poole to buy a birthday present for his daughter.

He said he visited "two or three friends" on his way home, but when asked by police for details, Downton replied: "I do not wish to discuss my friends with you, just because of the nature of this, I do not wish to implicate anyone.

"I see how serious it is, I do not like being involved in this and I do not think they would like to be as well."

He said that he could not remember what time he returned home, but had checked the cost of watching a boxing match online but had found it too expensive to watch.

Downton and co-defendants Jason Baccus, 42, and Scott Keeping, 44, both of Verney Close, Bournemouth, all deny murder.

Helen Keeping, 40, from Poole, denies two charges of assisting an offender relating to Baccus by allegedly disposing of stolen property and fellow defendant Keeping by allegedly providing him with a false alibi and disposing of stolen property.

The three male defendants also pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated burglary and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Baccus and Downton admit one charge of burglary of industrial premises in Verwood on the same day as the Castlewood incident, but deny another offence of burglary in the same area.