Suffolk

Weybread murders: Defendant claims identity mix-up

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 murdering a husband and wife claims he is a victim of mistaken identity, a court has heard.

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

He also claims he is not the man wanted by police, and his real name is Vital Dapi, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

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

Prosecutor Kharim Khalil QC told jurors a dispute about identification was "at the heart of this case".

'It's a lie'

"We say Ali Qazimaj killed these two people," he said.

"The defendant claims he's not Ali Qazimaj. He claims to be called Vital Dapi. We say it's a lie.

"You have to decide whether Ali Qazimaj is the murderer, and whether the defendant is Ali Qazimaj."

Image caption Up to 30 officers were involved in the search in Weybread

The Stuarts were last seen alive at Goodies Farm Shop in Pulham Market, Norfolk, on 29 May last year. They were reported missing five days later.

Mr Stuart was found in a river with nine stab wounds near his home on 3 June. Police are still looking for the body of his wife.

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

The court heard a relative of the Stuarts by marriage, Sidney Paxman, was cared for by Mr Qazimaj near Grays, Essex.

Mr Khalil told the court Mr Paxman had given the defendant "the best part of £10,000" over two years.

"Mr Paxman will say he had told Ali Qazimaj about the Stuarts, describing them as millionaires," he said.

The prosecutor also said Mr Paxman claimed the defendant told him "he had been to Serbia and on his return he said he had carried out a contract killing".

The trial continues.

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