Thursday 24 May 2018

Man not invited to Christmas celebrations found guilty of killing host

By Natasha Reid

A 32-year-old father-of-one has been found guilty of killing another father-of-one in his home after arriving uninvited at the victim’s Christmas celebrations.

The Central Criminal Court heard that Gintaras Brazauskas (29) died in the early hours of St Stephen’s Day 2008, after sustaining seven stab wounds, two of which were fatal.

Egidijus Kiaulakis of Coille Bheithe in Nenagh in Tipperary admitted stabbing the deceased but had pleaded not guilty to murdering him, saying he acted in self-defence.

Kiaulakis was also found guilty of assault causing harm to Robertas Sujetovas on the same occasion, another charge he denied.

The two-week trial heard that the two victims were lifelong friends from the same town in Lithuania.

They celebrated Christmas Day with family and friends in Mr Brazauskas’s flat, which was downstairs from Mr Sujetovas’s flat in a house in Summerhill, Nenagh

Shortly after midnight, the defendant left his home with a bottle of brandy looking for company, without telling his partner where he was going.

As he passed the house in Summerhill, witnesses said he threw stones at the window of the victim’s flat.

Mr Sujetovas said he wasn’t a friend of the group, but they knew him as a fellow Lithuanian. He asked if he could join them and was allowed in.

Within 20 minutes of him arriving, Ms Brazauskas partner asked him to leave as the noise was upsetting their two-month-old baby.

Mr Sujetovas and another man left with him and a fight broke out, with this other man breaking a bottle over the defendant’s head.

The defendant went to a friend’s house, telling him he wanted to find out why he had been attacked. The friend returned to the house in Summerhill with him, not knowing the accused had taken a knife from his kitchen.

When they arrived back to the flat, the deceased was in bed. He got out and opened the door.

Two fights broke out between the men, with the accused stabbing the deceased seven times and stabbing Mr Sujetovas four times.

Mr Brazauskas died at the scene. Six of the seven stab wounds were to his back and two punctured his heart and lung.

Mr Sujetovas was rushed to hospital and made a full recovery.

The accused left the scene with his friend, discarding the knife in a nearby churchyard. He was found semi-conscious later that morning in a ditch several kilometres away.

He told Gardaí that he had acted in self-defence, after a number of people rushed at him when he knocked on the door

The eight men and four women of the jury were told they could find him guilty of murder if satisfied he did not act in self-defence.

They were told they could find him guilty of manslaughter if they thought he acted in self-defence, but had used more force than necessary.

After almost four hours deliberating, they reached a unanimous verdict of guilty of manslaughter. They also reached a unanimous decision that he was guilty of assault causing harm to Mr Sujetovas.

Mr Justice Paul Carney remanded the accused in custody for sentencing on April 29th.

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