Life sentence for Kettering murderer
A man who battered his so-called friend to death with a wooden table leg has been jailed for life.
Mindaugas Kaminskas, 29, killed fellow Lithuanian national Juozas Meilunas, who often slept rough, at a run-down bedsit in Woodlands Court in Kettering.
This morning (Wednesday), after less than a day of deliberating, a jury of seven men and five women unanimously found him guilty of murder.
In the past 30 minutes judge Adrienne Lucking has jailed Kaminskas for life. He must serve a minimum of 19 years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Detective Chief Inspector Joe Banfield from Northamptonshire Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “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.”
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.
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.