Suffolk

Weybread murder suspect claims he has never been to UK

Sylvia Stuart and Peter Stuart Image copyright Diss Express
Image caption The body of Peter Stuart was found but his wife Sylvia remains missing

A man accused of killing a husband and wife claimed he had never been to the UK before his arrest and extradition, a court has heard.

The defendant, named by prosecutors as Ali Qazimaj, 43, denies killing Peter and Sylvia Stuart, from Weybread, Suffolk.

Mr Stuart, 75, was stabbed to death last June. The body of Mrs Stuart, 69, has never been found.

The accused claims he did not know them before his arrest in Luxembourg.

At an earlier hearing at Ipswich Crown Court, prosecutor Kharim Khalil QC told jurors a dispute about identification was "at the heart of this case".

The defendant said his name is Vital Dapi, that he is 44 years old, and is from the city of Elbasan in Albania.

Mr Stuart's body was found in shallow water in woodland near his home on 3 June. His wife is still missing - presumed dead.

Image caption Police outside the Stuarts' home in Suffolk in June last year.

The defendant, formerly of Tilbury, Essex, was arrested in Luxembourg on 17 June and extradited back to the UK.

Questioned by Max Hill, defending, the accused said: "I've never been in the UK all my life."

'Gambling debts'

He denied killing Mr and Mrs Stuart and said he had no information about her disappearance, and no knowledge of them before his arrest.

"In Luxembourg they showed me picture of two people, one with glasses and a woman," he told the court.

"I've never used the name Qazimaj as I'm proud of my name and who I am."

He said he had also never used the name Marco Costa, which prosecutors had suggested the defendant used in relation to gambling.

Mr Hill asked the defendant about a silver Citroen car found by police in Dover which prosecutors say contained his fingerprints.

"I don't know how they were planted there but it's not me," said the defendant.

Prosecutors say the defendant is Ali Qazimaj - a carer to the father-in-law of the Stuarts' daughter Christy Paxman.

It is alleged Qazimaj had accrued gambling debts and believed the Stuarts to be millionaires.

The trial continues.

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