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25 July 2014, 12:56 | Updated: 25 July 2014, 13:00
Two men have been sentenced to over 30 years in total for the murder of 38-year-old Paulius Jakovlevas in Great Yarmouth.
Neighbours discovered Paulius’ body on the morning of Monday 11 November 2013 in the communal stairwell of a group of flats at 46 Wellesley Road in the town. Post mortem examinations later revealed he had died from severe head injuries.
After a five week trial at Norwich Crown Court, 40 year old Kestutis Sliogeris of Cromwell Road in Peterborough and Mantas Staponka, 24 years old and of no fixed address were found guilty of murder on Thursday, 24 July 2014. Today, Sliogeris was sentenced to 17 and half years in prison while Staponka was sentenced to a 16 year jail term.
Forensic evidence and witness testimony proved they had been involved in the attack on Paulius. A search of the bins outside also resulted in carrier bags of blood stained items and a letter belonging to Sliogeris being found.
Sliogeris was charged shortly after the murder had taken place. He had fled the scene. Attempts had been made to clean up the flat and the body of Paulius had been dumped on the stairs. It is believed he had been dead for up to three days at this point. Staponka fled to Lithuania and was extradited back to the United Kingdom to face the charges.
T/Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy, from the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, who lead the enquiry, welcomed the sentencing saying: "This was a complicated investigation made more difficult by the need to locate, arrest and extradite one of the suspects from Lithuania.
"The convictions of the defendants are recognition of the brutal and senseless attack on Paulius which appears to be as a result of an alcohol fuelled argument over a tattoo. The fact that no effort was made by either of the defendants to give first aid or summon help as he lay dying on the floor for many hours, will be incredulous to most people.
"This incident highlights the damage that the abuse of alcohol causes at the worst possible level.”
Paulius had originally come from Lithuania to Yarmouth in 2011. He had worked in a local factory and lived with his estranged family in the area. He was known to socialise with other members of his community and late on Friday 8 November 2013, he had agreed to meet with the defendants at 46 Wellesley Road, in one of the flats, thought to be rented to Sliogeris and his partner.
The men had been drinking and eating in Flat 4 for several hours when a fight broke out. The aftermath was witnessed by callers to the flat who saw Paulius on the floor between the bedroom and kitchen and although he was conscious, he was covered in blood.
At least one telephone call was made to a witness describing Paulius being very poorly, the advice given to the caller was to summon medical help, this did not happen.
A six hour forensic post mortem showed cause of death to be blunt force trauma head injury. He had been the victim of an assault involving sustained stamping, kicking and punching. His injuries included serious head trauma, twelve broken ribs, eye socket fractures and a broken nose. He also had teeth missing which were later recovered from the flat.
Investigations revealed Paulius had died face down in the flat and his body was dragged down the stairwell and left there to be discovered by neighbours.