July 23 2014 Latest news:
Ramzy Alwakeel, Reporter
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
A lorry driver who stabbed a workmate with a kitchen knife and left his body lying in a HGV cab has been found guilty of murder.
Ausras Maslovas, 45, of Alytus, Lithuania, was convicted yesterday at Snaresbrook Crown Court of murdering 49-year-old Petras Miernykas. Mr Miernykas’s body was found at the Seabrook Warehousing building in New Road, Rainham, on January 19.
Maslovas was handed a life sentence, and must serve a minimum of 12 years.
The pair had been drinking together in Maslovas’s lorry cab on the evening on January 18, police said.
Soon after 8am the following day, a workmate invited Maslovas into his cab for a coffee.
The murderer explained his victim’s absence by saying he was sleeping after having drunk too much.
Police now know Mr Miernkas was already dead.
The court heard Maslovas had attempted to clear up after his crime, even phoning his son asking him to deliver cleaning products to him as a matter of urgency.
But colleagues became suspicious when Maslovas said someone he didn’t know was sleeping in his cab.
They managed to look through the window, and saw Mr Miernykas’s body lying face-down on the floor.
A post-mortem at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, found the cause of death was a single stab wound. Police later found the murder weapon – a 16cm-bladed kitchen knife – discarded on nearby waste ground.
During his police interview, Maslovas initially described the victim as a good friend. He said they had been drinking together in his cab that evening and both fell asleep, and that he woke up on January 19 to find an unresponsive Mr Miernykas lying across his legs.
But during his trial Maslovas went on to say he stabbed Mr Miernykas in self defence.
Det Chief Insp Tim Duffield of the Met’s homicide and serious crime command said: “Maslovas sought to make out that his attack was self defence. However, the police investigation exposed a man who didn’t call for urgent medical help after the attack and then lied to Petras’s workmates as his body lay in his lorry cab, all the while hatching a plan to dispose of the murder weapon and attempt to destroy forensic evidence.
“Petras was a hardworking man. I hope today’s verdict will help bring closure for his family, who have handled their loss with enormous courage and dignity.”
Did you know Mr Miernykas? Call the newsdesk on 020 8477 3903 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to leave a tribute.