MURDER TRIAL: Suspect’s fingerprints found on car containing Weybread couple’s DNA, court hears

Sylvia and Peter Stuart, of Weybread, have not been seen since Saturday.
Sylvia and Peter Stuart, of Weybread, have not been seen since Saturday.

A man accused of killing a couple from Weybread who claims to be the victim of mistaken identity has been linked by forensic evidence to a car containing their DNA, a jury has been told.

Ali Qazimaj, 43, has been charged with the murder of Peter Stuart, 75, who was found stabbed to death in a ditch near his home, and Sylvia Stuart, 69, whose body has never been found.

The car left by Ali Qazimaj at Athol Terrace, Dover

The car left by Ali Qazimaj at Athol Terrace, Dover

Fingerprints were recovered by police from a Citroen car found abandoned in a street in Dover as a search for Mr and Mrs Stuart, who had been reported missing from their Suffolk home, was taking place.

Prints found on a petrol filler cap and on a plastic bag and a torch inside the vehicle matched those of Qazimaj, fingerprint expert Michael Southern told Ipswich Crown Court.

The man who the prosecution say is Qazimaj but who claims his name is Vital Dapi has the same prints, said Mr Southern.

Mr Southern told the court: “I was left in no doubt at all that the same person had made the prints.”

Suffolk Police want to trace Ali Qazimaj as investigations into a Weybread couple's disappearance continue.

Suffolk Police want to trace Ali Qazimaj as investigations into a Weybread couple's disappearance continue.

The jury has heard blood containing the DNA of Mr Stuart, 75, was found on the door of the Citroen car while traces of DNA from Mrs Stuart, 69, were discovered on hairs found inside the boot.

The couple were reported as missing on June 3 last year, after they had not been seen by neighbours and had failed to turn up for a dance group.

Police searched the area around their home in Mill Lane, Weybread, and found the body of Mr Stuart partially submerged in a stream.

The body of Mrs Stuart has not been found.

Giving evidence, forensic pathologist Brett Lockyer said Mr Stuart had been stabbed nine times in the chest and back, some of the wounds damaging bones and requiring “severe force” to inflict.

Eight of the wounds had caused major injuries and any could have caused the death of Mr Stuart, including one which penetrated his heart and three which had damaged major blood vessels.

Although Mr Stuart’s body had been found face down in water, he had not died from drowning.

Dr Lockyer said that the cause of Mr Stuart’s death had been multiple stab wounds.

The prosecution allege that Qazimaj, a former recycling plant worker from south Essex, who had a “significant” gambling habit, murdered Mr and Mrs Stuart because he believed they were millionaires.

Qazimaj has pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder.

The trial continues.