In a "hit-and-run" attack, the men snatched Daniel from a London street, videoed themselves having sex with him and then strangled him before burying his body in a wood, the Old Bailey heard.
John Bevan, for the prosecution, told the jury: "If this sounds like a description of acts callously inhumane and depraved almost beyond belief, that is exactly what this case is about. You will hear evidence about as depressing an example of the dark side of human nature, man's inhumanity to man and downright wickedness as you could imagine."
Brett Tyler, 30, admits false imprisonment and buggery, but denies murdering Daniel on 2 October 1994. His former lover, Timothy Morss, 33, has admitted murder. The court heard that Daniel's last words to the self-confessed homosexuals were: "Are you going to kill me?" Seconds later, he was strangled with a length of knotted rope as he fell asleep.
Mr Bevan said that Daniel was singled out because of his looks, adding: "If he had not been blond, presumably he would be alive today."
On the day he was abducted, Daniel had been playing with friends on his BMX bike and was told by his mother to return to their Beckton home, in east London, by 6pm. At the same time, Tyler and Morss - who started a homosexual affair after meeting in prison - were out "cruising" in London's East End, Mr Bevan said.
"Morss had a fantasy in which he wanted to abduct, bugger and kill a boy," Mr Bevan told jurors. "Presumably, they saw the East End, where neither they nor their car was known, as an 'ideal hunting ground'."
Under the pretext of looking for directions, the pair pushed Daniel into Morss's car and drove him to a flat in Camberwell, south-east London, where they filmed and buggered him.
Daniel was then driven along the M4, strangled in a lay-by close to junction 14 and buried in in woods near Bristol. Two weeks later, the men buried the body deeper.
The boy's grave was near a house which Morss shared with another gay lover, David Guttridge, 60. He had no knowledge of the incident at the time, but faces sentencing for attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Despite a massive police hunt, Daniel's body was not discovered for six months.
After the murder, Tyler fled to the Philippines to "indulge" his preference for young boys, said Mr Bevan. Morss later joined him, his flight paid for by Guttridge, but the pair came to blows and Morss returned to Britain where he was arrested.
Officers brought Tyler back from the Philippines and he was later charged.
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