Kent

Canterbury bedsit murder trial halted for cigarette

Flats where the body of a woman was found
Image caption Ms Raupiene's body was found at the bedsit in Victoria Road, Canterbury

A man accused of murdering his girlfriend has refused to continue giving evidence because he needed a cigarette.

Tomas Uptas, 32, is accused of killing his fellow Lithuanian Loreta Raupiene, 46, at a bedsit in Canterbury, Kent.

He refused to return to the stand at Maidstone Crown Court after lunch as he was stressed and wanted to smoke.

Judge Mr Justice Cooke adjourned the trial until Friday when Mr Uptas will get another chance to give evidence.

The judge told jurors there were no facilities to allow Mr Uptas to smoke a cigarette while at court.

While giving evidence, Mr Uptas denied he ever hurt Ms Raupiene, who was found strangled in the bedsit they shared in Victoria Road last November.

He was asked by prosecutor Oliver Saxby if they argued, and answered: "Of course. There were arguments every second day over small things.

"Just family arguments. Not violence, just words."

Mr Uptas admitted he often lost his temper and had once kicked a door down and punched a hole in the wall outside their bedsit.

He also said he and Ms Raupiene were heavy drinkers.

The court heard that fibres taken from ligature marks around Mr Raupiene's neck matched the scarf and his DNA was found on either end of it.

Police found Ms Raupiene's body in the bedsit after Mr Uptas went into a supermarket brandishing a BB gun, the court has heard.

Jurors were told Mr Uptas threatened members of the public - including a 12-year-old girl - at Morrisons supermarket in Canterbury before being shot by police.

He has already pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing a BB gun with intent to cause fear of violence and to one charge of attempted false imprisonment.

The trial continues.

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