Man found guilty of double murder during Russian New Year celebration


A man has been found guilty of murdering two friends during a drunken Russian New Year celebration.

Georgian national Vepkhvia Laliashvili, 51, fatally stabbed Lithuanians Dainius Kulboka, 44, and Jonas Semenas, 44, in January last year.

Previously, Laliashvili, who worked in the car trade, had shared five bottles of brandy with the victims.

The reason for the violence is not known, but it was claimed the defendant owed the victims some £30,000, the court heard.

Dainius Kulboka (Metropolitan Police/AP)

(PA Media)

Shortly after midnight on January 10 last year, the victims were found dead at Mr Kulboka’s home in Tavistock Gardens in Ilford, east London, where all three had spent the evening drinking.

Prosecutor James Dawes QC had told jurors the evidence indicated Laliashvili killed or incapacitated one man and then killed the other.

The defendant used knives he found in the house to inflict eight deep stab wounds on Mr Kulboka and 52 stab wounds on Mr Semenas, some very deep, the court heard.

The prosecution claimed the sounds of the attack could be heard on a doorbell camera in front of the house.

One of the victims could be heard pleading with the accused to stop after he had apparently already stabbed the other.

In harrowing audio played in court, a voice could be heard pleading, “Please don’t kill him, please don’t stab him.

“What are you doing? … Don’t stab him. What did he do to you?

As the attack continued, the defendant phoned his partner to pick him up, jurors were told.

Jonas Semenas (Metropolitan Police/AP)

(PA Media)

Officers entered the house and found the bloody remains of Mr Kulboka in the hallway and the second victim lying near the patio doors.

There was blood on the walls, floors and curtains downstairs.

A small amount of cocaine was found in the apartment and both victims had the drug in their system.

The accused was arrested two days later.

Laliashvili, of Paistow, east London, formerly known as Vytautas Garmus, had denied two counts of murder.

Testifying, he claimed he had no recollection of the events but said he would not have attacked the two men, who worked in construction.

A jury at the Old Bailey deliberated for less than a day to find him guilty.

Judge Wall adjourned sentencing until Thursday.

Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Kelly Allen said: ‘Dainius and Jonas were subjected to a frenzied attack by a man they thought was their friend.

“My heart goes out to their families as they continue to deal with the pain of losing a loved one in such horrific circumstances.

“My team of detectives carried out a complex and detailed investigation, which involved speaking to several witnesses and reviewing a large amount of CCTV footage and phone data.

“I am pleased that our work has resulted in the conviction of a dangerous man and it is only right that he is now spending a considerable amount of time in prison.”

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