Kettering murder trial: Accused 'said he had to set fire to flat'

A man accused of killing his Kettering flatmate with a table leg told a former colleague he had to set fire to the property, a court heard.

Mindaugas Kaminskas, 29, is on trial at Northampton Crown Court charged with murdering 51-year-old fellow Lithuanian Juozas Meilunas at their Woodlands Court bedsit.

Juozas died in the first floor flat on the left.

Juozas died in the first floor flat on the left.

Mr Meilunas is believed to have been killed in late September or early October but his decomposing body was not found until Boxing Day after a flood at the flat.

Today (Friday) the court heard evidence from a former colleagues of Kaminskas, of no fixed abode.

Latvian national Toms Graebaskis briefly worked with Kaminskas, whom he knew as Minda, at print firm Eclipse Colour in Kettering.

Some time after Kaminskas left his role Mr Graebaskis saw him on his way to work at about 5.30am and asked him for a cigarette.

The court heard he then told him he had a dead body in his flat.

Prosecuting, Mary Loram said: "What did you make of Minda telling you he had a dead body in his flat?"

Mr Graebaskis said: "I did not take it seriously."

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The court heard they then crossed paths the following morning when Kaminskas again said there was a dead body and asked him for a cigarette.

Ms Loram said: "Did you give him one?"

Mr Graebaskis said: "Yes."

Ms Loram said: "What did he say then?"

Mr Graebaskis said: "He said he needed to set fire to the place."

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Defending, Isabella Forshall asked Mr Graebaskis why he didn't take the claims of a dead body seriously.

She said: "When he said there was a body in his flat, most of us might think that's a serious thing to say. But you did not take it seriously."

Mr Graebaskis said: "He was acting weird. At the time I did not take it serious."

Ms Forshall said: "You dismissed it?"

Mr Graebaskis said: "Yes."

The trial, which is expected to take another two weeks, continues.