The family of murdered Weybread pensioners Peter and Sylvia Stuart has told the “twisted individual” who killed them to “find the moral courage” to reveal where Sylvia’s body is, so that they may finally find some peace.
Ali Qazimaj, also known as Vital Dapi and Marco Costa, aged 43 or 44, was found guilty of the murders of Mr and Mrs Stuart at Ipswich Crown Court earlier today. He will be sentenced tomorrow.
The body of Mr Stuart was found on June 3 last year, in woodland near his home, having sustained multiple stab wounds. The whereabvouts of Mrs Stuart’s body is still unknown.
Following the jury’s return of a guilty verdict after less than four hours of deliberation, the Stuart family thanked the investigation team for their work, and the police officers who provided them comfort over the past year.
A statement issued by the family read: “To all those involved in bringing this case to trial and its eventual conclusion, we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks.
“To Mr Khalil and Mr Jackson, the prosecuting barristers and their hardworking team, we thank you for your professionalism, attention to detail and the empathy shown to us during each stage of the trial.
“To Detective Chief Inspector Andy Guy, Detective Inspector Hayward and all of his team, we are so grateful for your support and kindness from the beginning of this ordeal and throughout the trial.
“It has been a great comfort to us as a family and without your hard work and diligence this conviction may not have been possible.
“Our special thanks go to DC Leah and DC Evans, the Family Liaison Officers, for the comfort they gave us during the darkest times. We won’t forget you!
“Finally to the twisted individual who committed this wicked crime, we hope you spend the rest of your miserable existence reflecting on the utter senselessness and brutality of what you did to two innocent people and that maybe one day you will find the moral courage to tell us where Sylvia is, so that we may give her and our family some final peace.
“We will not be offering any further statements or comments, therefore we would appreciate consideration with regards to our privacy allowing us to resume some semblance of normal life.”
DCI Andy Guy, from the joint Suffolk and Norfolk Major Investigation Team which led the murder enquiry, said the evidence had proved beyond doubt that Qazimaj was the murderer, and he was pleased the jury had reached the same conclusion.
He added that investigators would continue to look into any information which may assist them in locating Mrs Stuart.
“Throughout the case he insisted he was not Qazimaj but an innocent asylum seeker from Albania - Vital Dapi. He was offered two opportunities to engage with the police to explore this claim but refused both,” said DCI Guy.
“In an extradition case the police are not permitted to interview the suspect on return to UK, however evidence in the form of fingerprints, DNA, hand-writing samples and physical appearance including a mole and tattoo proved beyond reasonable doubt that Dapi, Qazimaj and Costa are all the same man.
“That man murdered Peter and Sylvia.
“His car provided the investigation with some of the most significant evidence. DNA from both Peter and Sylvia was found in the vehicle.
“Fifteen of Qazimaj’s fingerprints were also recovered from this car and his home in Tilbury.
“Other data proved this car had travelled from Tilbury to Weybread on several occasions in the months leading up to the murder and Qazimaj had also researched the Stuart’s family home on a works computer.
“Despite a huge number of officers from three counties completing hundreds of hours of searches Sylvia remains missing.
“Searches were conducted around the Stuart’s home address, the entire route between Weybread and Tilbury and the home and workplace of Qazimaj.
“The investigation team and I are pleased that the jury saw through the bizarre and unbelievable claims Qazimaj made in the court.
“The assertion that there was another man who looked identical to him, shared the same DNA and handwriting styles, and disappeared at the same time he appeared in Luxembourg is beyond belief, as is the claim that somehow his fingerprints were taken in Luxembourg and switched to implicate him.
“I have promised the family, who have shown a quiet dignity throughout, that I will continue to follow up any information that assists in locating Sylvia. I would also ask anyone who may have information to call us.”