JURORS were this afternoon told that one of two men alleged to have murdered drug dealer Agim Hoxha has pleaded guilty to being part of the events concerning his death.

The panel of six men and six women were informed that Afrim Lleshi had admitted perverting the course of justice by being concerned in the removing of Mr Hoxha's body from a flat in Shirley Road, taking him to Chilworth, setting fire to the Mercedes car and cleaning traces of blood from the alleged murder scene.

Afrim entered his guilty plea yesterday morning before the murder trial got underway but the matter could not be reported until the jury had been told of the development by prosecutor Nicholas Haggan QC, during the course of the opening of the case against him and Arben Lleshi.

Mr Haggan revealed the guilty plea after taking jurors through a brief résumé of Afrim's police interviews following his arrest for murder last April, in which he denied any knowledge of the murder of Mr Hoxha.

Mr Haggan said:" The reality is that Afrim did know about that murder and he was involved in the events that took place."

Afrim Lleshi, 36, of Shirley Road, Southampton, and Arben Lleshi, 25, of Onslow Road, Southampton, are both accused of killing Mr Hoxha during April 8 and April 9 last year.

They both deny murder. Arben also denies a second charge of perverting the course of justice by removing, with Afrim, Mr Hoxha's body from the flat, taking it to Chilworth Drove and setting fire to it, as well as cleaning traces of blood inside the property.