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Witness continued watching TV as murder accused ran at housemate with knife

Witness continued watching TV as murder accused ran at housemate with knife

A witness has told a murder trial that he continued watching television when he saw the accused run towards the deceased with a knife because there were often conflicts in their house.

The 49-year-old was giving evidence in the trial of a man, charged with murdering his housemate in Co Laois.

The Central Criminal Court has heard that 26-year-old Alexander Karpov died of a single stab wound to the heart at a house on Spa Street in Portarlington on February 15th, 2014.

Deivydas Zigelis, a 38-year-old Lithuanian, has pleaded not guilty to murdering him at the house. However, he has pleaded guilty to the Latvian’s manslaughter.

Rimas Sodaitis testified that he had moved to Ireland from Lithuania in 2004. The divorced father of two was living in Portarlinton in 2014.

He said he knew the accused and the deceased from working with them previously. He went to their house the morning after St Valentine’s Day, after failing to find any cider in his own home.

He said that he and the deceased began drinking vodka when he arrived and that the accused drank cider. They also watched TV, he said.

He said that the accused and the deceased began having ‘a conflict of words’ that evening and were shouting at each other.

“Deivydas quickly grabbed a knife that was lying on some small table,” he said through an interpreter.

“He kicked the table and ran towards Sasha,” he said, referring to the deceased. “I realised something bad was happening but the conflicts were happening there often so I just continued watching the TV.”

He said he didn’t see what happened next.

“He must have got to him,” he said.

He recalled that when he turned to look at them, he saw the accused slowly easing his housemate onto the floor before leaving the room.

“Sasha remained on the floor. I thought that he was just punched in the face and was just lying there,” he said.

“When he (the accused) came back, he started slapping this face and calling his name: Sasha, Sasha,” he recalled. “He wanted to wake him up because he was lying there as dead. I remained seated at the same place and I continued watching the TV. I didn’t do anything.”

He said he later saw blood, and the accused asked him where it was coming from. He said that the accused cleaned it up before saying that something needed to be done and calling the emergency number.

Garda John Masterson testified that when he arrived at the scene, Mr Sodaitis said: “I am murder. I am Rimas and I murdered my friend.”

The garda agreed with the defence that this untrue statement could have been the result of anguish at this friend’s death or complete intoxication.

The court heard that neither he nor the accused were deemed fit to be interviewed for several hours as a result of their intoxication.

The jury earlier heard from pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster, who carried out an autopsy on the body of Mr Karpov. She said she observed a stab wound on the left of his chest. It was nine centimetres deep and tracked between the third and fourth ribs, through the right ventricle of the heart, piercing the cusp of the aorta.

She said she discovered almost 500ml of fresh blood clot in the pericardial sac around the heart, which would usually contain only 10ml of fluid. This would have prevented the heart beating, she explained.

“There were no defensive wounds,” she said.

She concluded that death was due to blood in the pericardial sac as a result of the single stab wound to the heart.

“Death would have been very rapid,” she said.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Paul Butler.