One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Peterborough: Man Guilty Of Mum Murder
A man who kidnapped and murdered a Peterborough mum has been jailed for life.
29 year old Vitalija Baliutaviciene [pictured - right] went missing in August last year.
She was last seen leaving her home in Burmer Road in the New England area of Peterborough before being kidnapped.
In February this year, her body was identified in Poland.
Her ex-husband, 47 year old Rimas Venclovas, from Taurage in Lithuania, has been found guilty of kidnapping and murdering her.
Vencolvas was today (Monday) jailed for life at the Old Bailey in London, and will serve a minimum of 20 years before being considered for parole.
The court heard how Venclovas was jealous that Vitalija was seeing another man, and so arranged to travel from his home in Lithuania to Peterborough last year.
He waited for several hours then snatched her off the street in Lincoln Road while she was on her way to work.
He put Vitalija into his van before heading back to mainland Europe a few hours later.
A massive operation was then launched by Cambridgeshire Police to try and find Vitalija, and her body was found in Woodland in Poland in October last year.
However, the body was not formally identified as Vitalija until February this year.
Venclovas had twice assaulted Vitalija when he lived in Peterborough and had skipped bail to leave the country in February 2011 when he had been due to be charged with common assault.
He had told her it was her ‘destiny' to be killed and buried by him.
Detective Inspector Martin Brunning, who led the investigation, said: "Vitalija was simply heading to work in order to provide for her young son when she was snatched off the street and killed.
Venclovas is a controlling, possessive man who plotted to kidnap and kill her in chilling detail.
He knew her exact movements and planned and carried out what he thought would be the perfect murder.
He gave no thought to her friends, family or even his own son when he murdered Vitalija and dumped her body in Poland, where he thought she would never be found.
Indeed, it was only down to many hours of detective work and close partnerships with the Polish police force that she was eventually identified and her family finally given the chance to grieve.
Otherwise she may have been left in an unidentified pauper's grave many miles from her home and her family left with many unanswered questions about what had happened to her.
I'd like to thank the authorities in Poland who have worked closely with us on this investigation.
With their help a dangerous man, who robbed a young boy of his mother, has now been brought to justice and will not see freedom until he is an old man.
I hope Vitalija's family can take some comfort from today's verdict and that it allows them to move on with their lives."
Family statement .
The following statement is from Vitalija's mother, Vanda Cerneckaite (64), and her brother, Audrius Sreberis (30):Vitalija was a much-loved daughter, sister and mother who is greatly missed by all of her family.
Our lives stopped the day she disappeared and they will never be the same again.
Rimas is an evil man who went to great lengths in order to kidnap and kill our beloved Vitalija.
For six months after she disappeared we had to live with the anguish of not knowing what had happened to her.
Her son clung to the glimmer of hope that she was still alive and would come back to him.
Rimas had the power to end that pain and uncertainty and allow his own son to start to grieve.
He selfishly chose not to do so however, and has continued to prolong that suffering through his lies and denial as he sought to save his own skin.
There can be no justification for the level of violence he used against such a kind and gentle woman who posed no threat to him.
Rimas' actions mean his own son will now grow up without a mother and whose father will be in prison for many years.
Rimas will have to live with that on his conscience.
Words cannot express how much of a void Vitalija's loss has left in our lives, however we can take some comfort in the fact her killer has now been brought to justice and is not free to hurt others in the way he has hurt us.
We would like to thank Cambridgeshire Police for their hard work investigating Vitalija's death and we are grateful for the support given to us, especially from the family liaison officer, throughout this ordeal."
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