GUILTY: The face of man who bludgeoned victim to death in Kettering
A man has been convicted of murdering his flatmate with a wooden table leg in Kettering.
Mindaugas Kaminskas, 29, bludgeoned fellow Lithuanian national Juozas Meilunas, who often slept rough, to death at the run-down bedsit in Woodlands Court.
This morning (Wednesday), after less than a day of deliberating, a jury of seven men and five women unanimously found him guilty of murder.
A trial at Northampton Crown Court heard Mr Meilunas, 51, had been struck in 'an explosion of violence' at some point between late September and early October.
But the street drinker's body was not found until 12 weeks later on Boxing Day, in an advanced state of decomposition, after neighbours spotted a leak.
His body was found under a duvet with blood splatters on the wall and both his and Kaminskas' DNA on a nearby table leg.
A forensic pathologist said Mr Meilunas suffered repeated blows to the head with a blunt object.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield from Northamptonshire Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “This is a very sad case. Juozas Meilunas lived an isolated existence, sleeping on the streets at times, with few friends to support him.
“One of those so-called friends murdered him in an explosion of violence.
“After his murder, his body remained where it was for up to 12 weeks before police officers discovered him."
A painstaking investigation to find out when he was last seen revealed his phone had not been used and he had not logged in at his workplace since September 21.
A neighbour saw him with a swollen face on September 27 and reported him missing in November after growing concerned.
A number of people came forward after police appeals following his death, including one which directly appealed to the Lithuanian community in their mother tongue.
In the days after the killing Kaminskas used his victim's bank card and brazenly used it to withdraw cash in his home country a month later.
He had even told friends and former colleagues he had a 'trophy' dead body in his flat and asked if they wanted to come and see it.
One friend who gave evidence said he thought he was joking. Today a jury concluded he was not joking, but confessing.
After fleeing to Lithuania he was arrested when he tried to return to England. Why he killed Mr Meilunas may never be known.
Kaminskas will be sentenced this afternoon.
Det Ch Insp Banfield added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the public who supported us throughout this very complex and fast-paced investigation.
“Many of them came forward as a result of our media appeals, helping us put together a timeline of Juozas’ movements before his death.
“Undoubtedly, without their help, we would not have been able to identify Kaminskas as the suspect so quickly and the investigation would have been far more difficult to bring to court and secure a conviction.
“Juozas deserved justice and I am pleased that today, we have managed to get that for him. His killer, Mindaugas Kaminskas, is rightly facing a lengthy prison sentence and I hope he spends that time reflecting on how the consequences of his violent actions have resulted in an innocent man losing his life.”