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Behind bars Lithuanian fugitive who spent 13 years on run in Ireland jailed for gun attack

Marius Civinskas (38) had started a family and a new life in Cork after fleeing Lithuania after shooting his pal Raimondas Simkus in a dispute between two gangs

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Marius Civinskas had settled in Ireland and had three kids here.

Marius Civinskas had settled in Ireland and had three kids here.

Marius Civinskas had settled in Ireland and had three kids here.

A Lithuanian man who lived in Ireland for 13 years under a false identity while on Europol’s Most Wanted list has been jailed for a gun attack in his native country.

Marius Civinskas (38) — who started a family and a new life in Cork after fleeing Lithuania after shooting his pal Raimondas Simkus in a dispute between two gangs — has been sentenced to 10 years behind bars for the killing.

Civinskas was living in Ireland under a false identity for 13 years and was the father of three Irish children. He stayed out of trouble while here but was eventually tracked down to Cork in 2019 after contacting family in Lithuania, and was subsequently extradited to stand trial.

He was accused of the killing of 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.

There was a row had been sparked following an incident at a local bowling alley.

The victim was known to police and had been a suspect in a robbery shortly before his death.

While Civinskas denied being the gunman, the court found he was the one to fire the fatal shots but had been aiming for a rival criminal when he shot his friend by accident.

He still maintains his innocence and told the court: “I have never been a murderer.”

Prosecutors had asked the court to imprison Civinskas for 12 years but his defence team argued the death could have been an accidental murder as “there was no motive, no purpose, no intentional or unintentional determination”. His defence added that Civinskas was innocent and should be released.

However, the court found him guilty of causing his pal’s death. As he has not come to the attention of authorities since the killing, the court sentenced him to a lower than average sentence of 10 years.

“The reason is that it hit a friend in the back. The shot was aimed at the opponent’s side, but the friend was standing between the friend and the opponent at the time, that’s the situation. We have asked for a harsher punishment, but it is the prerogative of the court to impose it.

"The two-year mitigation is no reason to say that the punishment is clearly wrong,” Klaipeda Regional Prosecutor Arunas Saunorius told Lithuanian news outlet 15Min after the hearing.

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Civinskas did not comment to media after the hearing.

At a previous court sitting, Civinskas said while he denied 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.”

The murder weapon has never been found but witnesses told the court they saw Civinskas holding the weapon.

Simkus’s partner Viktorija told the trial she was pregnant with his child and wanted to talk to him about it on the day he was killed. They met up and talked before he was later picked up by a dark VW Golf.

“We said goodbye and Raimondas got in the car. Back then, I didn’t know I was seeing him alive one last time. The next morning, I got a call from the police and they told me the bad news, and also asked me to come and recognise the body.”

She added she was shocked to learn a few days later that Simkus was also in a relationship with another woman whom he had a child with.

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