July 23 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 14, 2014
One of four men accused of beating a man to death in Great Yarmouth has denied any involvement and claims he only heard about the fact the man had died when told by one of his co-defendants at Norwich bus station, a court heard.
One of four defendants accused of beating a man to death in Great Yarmouth denied taking part in any attack and claims he did not even know the man had died until he was later told by a co-defendant,a court heard.
The body of Paulius Jakovlevas, 38, was found at the bottom of communal stairs at a flat in Wellesley Road, in the early hours of November 11, last year.
The jury at Norwich Crown Court heard that Mr Jakovlevas had been drinking with the four men when an argument started over his tattoo, and after he was beaten to death his body was dumped at the bottom of the stairs.
Kestutis Sliogeris, 40, of Peterborough, Saidas Janulevicius, 35, of no fixed address, Algirdas Pocius, 47, of Wellington Road, Great Yarmouth, and Mantas Staponka, 24, of no fixed address, have all denied murder.
Sliogeris has also denied a charge of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Giving evidence, Staponka told the jury that as he had not found work, he was planning to go back to Lithuania and had gone to Sliogeris’ flat to celebrate before leaving.
He said the mood changed when Mr Jakovlevas arrived and said Sliogeris said: “Why have you brought him here.”
Staponka, who was speaking through an interpreter said: “I’m not sure but I think there was some disagreement.”
He said Sliogeris and Mr Jakovlevas were pushing each other around and he had tried to separate them.
“I said we came here not to sort out problems, but to relax.”
He said things seemed to calm down, but because he had smoked cannabis and been drinking he felt unwell and fell asleep. He said he was worried there might be further trouble.
Staponka said that he had spoken to Mr Jakovlevas before he left the flat in the morning and said that he could see he had been beaten up.
When he asked what happened, Mr Jakovlevas had replied: “Argument, argument.”
Staponka added: “I did not ask too many questions. They were not my problem. I did not want to get involved.”
He went to Peterborough for the weekend but met Sliogeris, at Norwich bus station, on the Monday when he was told that Mr Jakovlevas had died.
He said that Sliogeris had told him that they had tidied everything up and had thrown the body out.
Asked by his barrister, Andrew Shaw, if he had realised Mr Jakovlevas situation before he left the flat, Staponka replied:”If I had thought there was something so serious with his health I would have tried to help or call an ambulance.”
He said the first time he heard about the death was when Sliogeris told him at the bus station.
He said he had gone back to Lithuania, but was extradited back to Norfolk, in January, this year.
He said he agreed to be extradited and had voluntarily met with police officers.
“They called me and I arranged to meet them.”
Asked by Mr Shaw if he attacked Mr Jakovlevas he replied: “No.”
He was also asked if he had any cross words with him to which he replied: “No definitely not, in fact I was trying to calm them down.
The trial continues.