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Defence starts in Yarmouth murder trial

PUBLISHED: 12:20 09 July 2014 | UPDATED: 12:20 09 July 2014

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

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One of the men accused of murdering a man who was beaten to death at a Great Yarmouth flat following an argument about his tattoo said he had never even met or spoken to him before the alleged attack, a court has heard.

The body of Paulius Jakovlevas, 38, was found at the bottom of communal stairs at the flat in Wellesley Road, in the early hours of November 11, last year.

The jury of nine women and three men 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 Cromwell Road, 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 by cleaning up the flat to try to remove blood stains from the flat.

Giving evidence with the help of an interpreter at the start of his defence case yesterday Sliogeris, who is represented by Simon Spence QC, said he came to this country in 2006 to look for work and had been in Yarmouth since summer 2013.

He told Mr Spence he had only known his co-defendants Janulevicius and Pocius for a couple of weeks prior to the weekend of November 8 to November 10 when the murder was alleged to have happened and although he had known of Staponka from his childhood in Lithuania had only been reintroduced to him a couple of weeks before the incident.

When asked by Mr Spence if he knew Mr Jakovlevas prior to the alleged murder he replied “no”.

The court also heard Sliogeris has Hepatitis C and has been diagnosed with sclerosis of the liver and believes he “doesn’t have a long time to live”.

The trial continues.

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