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Man guilty over beheaded woman murder

Vitas Plytnykas and Aleksandras Skirda travelled through Arbroath with Jolanta Bledaite's headless, handless body in a suitcase Printer friendly version A Lithuanian man with a history of violence has been convicted of torturing and murdering a woman before cutting her head and hands from her corpse.

Jolanta Bledaite, also from Lithuania, was murdered on March 29th last year, with her head being found by sisters aged eight and 11 at Arbroath beach a couple of days later.

A LITHUANIAN stood smoking beside the bound and gagged body of a fellow migrant worker - knowing she was going to die.
A trial heard today/yesterday that Aleksandras Skirda, 20, and Vitas Plytnykas, 41, had planned to murder and dismember Skirda's friend, Jolanta Bledaite, for her savings some two months before her death.

They even bought plastic bags to dispose of the remains in the sea at Arbroath, the High Court in Edinburgh was told.

The trial also saw CCTV footage of toddlers sitting on a bus - just feet away from a Lidl supermarket bag, said to contain Jolanta's head and hands.

Skirda, in a low voice which betrayed no emotion, described how he and Plytnykas took the bus journey to Arbroath to throw the body parts into the harbour there, weighted with stones.

Afterwards they took a taxi back to Brechin - using Jolanta's cash which they had withdrawn from a bank cash machine, using the dead woman's bank cards.

Jolanta's head and hands were found on an Arbroath beach by two young girls playing there on April 1 last year.

Skirda and Plytnykas were arrested days later.

Skirda has now admitted his part in murdering Jolante, 35, and cutting her up in the bathroom of the flat they shared in South Esk Street, Brechin.

Today (Friday) he was called to give evidence - with the help of an interpreter - against alleged accomplice Plytnykas.

Plytnykas denies having anything to do with the murder and claims he has an alibi.

He also denies theft and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Skirda began his chilling account of the pre-meditated murder by describing how he came to Scotland with his mum in 2006.

The following year they moved into the South Esk Street flat with Jolanta and another Polish man.

Skirda described Jolanta, also from Lithuania, as "a friend" but no more. They were not in a relationship, he told advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting.

He said he had also known Plytnykas for about two years.

Skirda said Jolanta did not do out much or spend her money. "Sometimes she just tell that she save money and tell how much she had," he said.

He thought she had about £5,000 in bank accounts.

In February last year he and Plytnykas talked about it in Skirda's flat and planned to take her money by stealing her bank cards. They expected to find the PIN numbers if they searched her room, or by asking her.

"Did you think she would just tell you? What were you going to do if she didn't?" asked Mr Prentice. "Well, threaten her," replied Skirda. "Threaten to kill her if she didn't give us PIN numbers."

He also admitted: "The plan was to dispose of her. Get rid of her."

Mr Prentice: "You mean you were going to kill her?"

Skirda: "Yes"

Mr Prentice: "So, no matter what Jolanta did she was going to be killed, is that right?"

Skirda: "If she didn't give us the PIN numbers we planned to kill her"

Mr Prentice: "If she did give you the PIN numbers."

Skirda: "The same."

He continued: "It was planned to cut her hands and her head off. So if the body was found nobody would know who it was.

"It was Vitas idea."

The trial heard that Jolanta was in bed, reading, when the two men burst into her room just before 8 am on March 29 last year. Skirda said he had brought gaffa tape which he wrapped round her hands and ankles while Plytnykas held the woman.

"She was in shock" he said, adding that they put her on the floor so she would not fall out of bed.

Two bank cards were found in the room and when the tape was taken from her mouth, "scared" Jolanta gave a PIN number.

Plytnykas left with the bank cards but returned minutes later to say the number was false.

"I just waited, smoking a cigarette" said Skirda.

He said after Plytnykas punched Jolanta she gave him the right PIN numbers. Seven puncture wounds found on the body were inflicted after she was dead, he insisted.

Skirda said Plytnykas left the flat again, and returned with £200.

"Then Vitas put a pillow over her face," he said, describing how he held the struggling woman's legs. After a few minutes she was not breathing. "I felt bad."

The two men cleared personal papers and possessions from Jolanta's room, then dragged or carried the body to the bathroom together and put it in the bath.

"Then I brought the knives from the kitchen."

Skirda said he gave the knives to Plytnykas. "Well, after that Vitas cut off her head." Asked how long it took he said: "I am note sure, a couple of minutes."

He also described how Plytnykas pulled one arm from the bath and cut off Jolanta's left hand before manoeuvring her body onto its side and severing the right hand.

Skirda said he held the bag as Plytnykas dropped the head inside.

The body parts and other items from Jolanta's flat were taken to a storage room there. The knives and personal papers were thrown in the nearby South Esk river.

"We decided to go to Arbroath to get rid of the bags with the head and hands," said Skirda.

The court saw CCTV footage from a Strathtay bus heading for Arbroath, timed at 12.43 pm that day.
Plytnykas, wearing a white top and walking with the help of a stick and Skirda, carrying a Lidl bag, sit near the front of the bus, putting the bag on the floor.

Just across from them a mum can be seen with a small child.

More CCTV shows them getting off the bus in Arbroath 40 minutes later and heading down the town's High Street. Skirda is wearing a distinctive jacket with an orange stripe and sleeves.

They went to the harbour and found stones to put in the bags, then Plytnykas threw them into the sea.

"He had more strength. He could throw further than me," said Skirda.

The two men then went shopping with Jolanta's money, Plytnykas buying a baby push-chair or "stroller" from Argos before taking a taxi back to Brechin, where Skirda sat alone in his room.

"I felt bad," he said. During the days which followed he was given £700 - his share of the money stolen through the cash machines.

The trial continues.

THE CHARGES ....

The indictment alleges that on March 29 last year at Jolanta's flat in Earsdon House, South Esk Street, Brechin, Plytnykas stole two bank cards.

A murder charge alleges that he then attacked the 35-year-old woman, tied her legs, arms and hands, put tape over her mouth and nose, and repeatedly demanded to know the PIN number of her bank cards.

The charge goes on to allege that Jolanta was repeatedly hit on the head and body, repeatedly cut with knives and faced threats to kill her before she was smothered with a pillow.

Plytnykas is also accused of trying to avoid prosecution for the alleged murder by cutting off Jolante's head and hands - throwing them into the sea - and throwing a suitcase containing the body into Arbroath Harbour.

He is also accused of throwing away the murder weapons, dumping Jolanta's personal possessions in rubbish bins and burning her personal papers, all as part of an attempt to defeat the ends of justice.

Other charges allege that Plytnykas tried to use bank cards at a number of bank cash machines and succeeded in withdrawing a total of pounds 1400.


Click to view image: 'poor woman'

Added: Feb-14-2009 Occurred On: Feb-14-2009
By: berlin_hamann
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Tags: man, guilty, of, beheading, woman, rest, in, peace, jolanta
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