| 14.7°C Dublin

Murder trial Fugitive who spent 13 years on the run in Ireland says he's not a monster 

Father of three who hid out in Ireland for 13 years awaits verdict in Lithuania murder trial


Marius Civinskas

Marius Civinskas

Marius Civinskas

A man who was extradited from Ireland to stand trial for murder, claimed this week he turned his life around while living here but said he has been "presented as a monster".

Marius Civinskas (37) was living in Ireland under a false identity when he was placed on Europol's Most Wanted List in relation to the murder of an associate shot dead in Lithuania in 2006 during a dispute between two gangs.

Civinskas, who denies the murder, was eventually tracked down to Cork in 2019 where he had started a family and was the father of three Irish children.

He has since been extradited back to Lithuania where he is on trial for murder.

Civinskas took the stand as the trial came to an end last week and he is now awaiting the judge's verdict.

He is accused of the murder of his pal Raimondas Simkus (28) who was fatally shot in Planaga on the west coast of Lithuania on April 3, 2006 during a dispute between two groups who police allege were involved in crime at the time.

One theory that had been suggested was that Civinskas may have accidentally shot his pal during the row but he denies carrying out the killing. He admits he was an angry young man at the time.

"We were all furious, some more, others less ... I may have been more, but I have never been a killer and I am not. I did not kill a friend of my own," he said.

Civinskas fled after the killing and started a new life in Ireland under a false identity.

He said while he denies carrying out the shooting, he feels guilty as he called another pal to help support him in the dispute that day.

"For almost half of my life, 15 years, I live with great moral trauma - through my good heart, I fell into such a situation and it happened.

"I listen from the side and am presented as a monster…I didn't really lie, I wouldn't have run or hide, I would have presented myself to the hearings but it is as is - I don't know how to prove my innocence. I want you to hear me. I was furious but I have changed my lifestyle radically for many years. I don't care about anyone but my family."

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

The murder weapon has never been found but some witnesses claim they saw Civinskas holding the weapon.

The court heard evidence that Civinskas and the victim were close friends.

His lawyer said that no motive was presented in court for the shooting and it was not established whether it was intentional or unintentional.

"Just because a person has picked up a gun and aimed it at something doesn't mean they wanted to kill it. Such an action could have been intimidating or defensive. Everything was in a hurry, there were fights," the lawyer said adding that there were a number of contradictions in the case.

The lawyer said there was not enough evidence gathered in the case to prove Civinskas's guilt and he should be freed.

The lawyer added that the incident could have been simply an accident or an unintentional loss of life.

Relatives of the victim are seeking damages and funeral costs estimated at €100,000.

At a previous hearing earlier this year, the court also heard from Simkus's partner who was pregnant when he was shot and only learned after his death that he had another partner and children.

The judge asked Civinskas' lawyer if his defence position would change if the charge was downgraded from murder to careless deprivation of life, which carries a maximum sentence of four years, but Civinskas said he would not change his testimony.

"I stand by the position that I am innocent," he told the court.

The prosecutor has asked the judge to sentence Civinskas to 12 years in prison. The judge will give a verdict at the next court sitting.

Earlier this year the Sunday World revealed how Civinskas, who had no criminal record in Ireland, was tracked down after he contacted his family by phone back in Lithuania.

"His mother had died back home and he wanted to talk to his relatives," a source said. "He also said he was tired of hiding and was thinking of going to the gardai before he was caught."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices