Jury of Suffolk murder case hears of injuries sustained by Weybread man Peter Stuart
PUBLISHED: 16:21 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 16 February 2017
A 75-year-old Suffolk man who was allegedly murdered by an Essex factory worker died after being stabbed in the chest and back nine times, a court has heard.
Forensic pathologist Brett Lockyer told a jury at Ipswich Crown Court that some of the stab wounds to Peter Stuart’s body, which was found in a ditch near his Weybread home in June last year, had damaged bone and would have required “severe” force.
Dr Lockyer said that eight of the stab wounds had caused significant injuries and any one of them could have killed Mr Stuart.
The court heard that one of the wounds, which was 8cm deep, had penetrated Mr Stuart’s heart and three of the other wounds had caused fatal damage to major blood vessels resulting in serious blood loss.
Dr Lockyer told the court there were no injuries to Mr Stuart’s hands or arms which would have indicated that he had tried to defend himself during the attack.
He said that although Mr Stuart’s body was found face down in shallow water he had died from multiple stab wounds and not drowning.
Dr Lockyer said although initially Mr Stuart would have been able to talk and walk after the attack he would have collapsed and died shortly afterwards.
The court has heard that Mr Stuart and his 69-year-old wife Sylvia were reported missing by their daughter Christy on June 3 last year, after they hadn’t been seen for several days.
A police search officer found Mr Stuart’s body partly hidden by a tarpaulin in a ditch in woodland near his home in Mill Lane, Weybread, on June 3 while his wife’s body has never been found.
Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting, has alleged the killings were carried out by Ali Qazimaj, a former asylum seeker who came to the UK in 1999.
However, Mr Khalil told the court that the man the prosecution believed to be Qazimaj claimed his name was Vital Dapi and that he was the victim of mistaken identity.
He denies murdering Mr and Mrs Stuart between May 29 and June 3 last year.
Mr Khalil has alleged that Qazimaj knew of the Stuarts through a connection with their son-in-law Steven Paxman who is married to their daughter.
Qazimaj, who lived in Tilbury, had been a carer for Mr Paxman’s father Sidney and through him he had learned about the Stuarts.
Mr Khalil told the court that on June 3 last year Qazimaj had resigned from his job at a recycling company in Essex and had also started selling items from his flat.
The following day he had allegedly driven to Dover where he caught a ferry after abandoning his Citroen, claimed Mr Khalil.
He said that in addition to Peter Stuart’s DNA being found in blood on the driver’s door of the Citroen and hairs containing Mrs Stuart’s DNA being found in the boot, Qazimaj’s fingerprints were found on a plastic bag in the footwell of the car and on the car doors.
Mr Khalil claimed that Qazimaj had a gambling habit, which had resulted in him getting into debt.
He alleged that Sidney Paxman had told Qazimaj the Stuarts were millionaires and that Qazimaj had told him he had carried out a contract killing in Serbia in 2015.
Qazimaj had also allegedly made a comment to Mr Paxman about marshes near Tillbury being a “good place to dispose of a body”.
The court heard the prosecution had mobile phone and traffic camera evidence of Qazimaj making trips to and from the area of the Stuarts’ home and back to Essex prior to their deaths.
Yesterday the jury heard statements from work colleagues of Ali Qazimaj at Shield Environmental in Purfleet who described him as “hardworking” and as “a bit of a fantasist”.
The court heard he had handed in his notice on June 3 last year.
The trial continues on Monday.