MURDER TRIAL: Weybread double murder trial enters final stages at Ipswich Crown Court

Sylvia and Peter Stuart.
Sylvia and Peter Stuart.

The trial of a man accused of killing Weybread couple Peter and Sylvia Stuart is entering its final stages at Ipswich Crown Court.

After more than four weeks of evidence, the jury has been listening to closing speeches by prosecution and defence barristers.

Ali Qazimaj

Ali Qazimaj

On trial is a man the prosecution say is Ali Qazimaj who claims he is a victim of mistaken identity and has told the court that his name is Vital Dapi.

The accused has claimed that before being arrested at a hostel in Luxembourg and extradited to stand trial for the alleged murders of Mr and Mrs Stuart, he had never before been in the UK.

The body of Mr Stuart, 75, was found partially submerged in a stream at the rear of the couple’s Weybread home. He had died as a result of being stabbed nine times.

Mrs Stuart, 69, has not been found but the prosecution allege there is “compelling” evidence that she too was murdered by the man said to be

Qazimaj.

During the trial, the jury has heard in person from more than 30 witnesses and been read statements by made others who were not called to appear.

Making his final speech to the jury, Kamil Khalil QC, who has led the prosecution, said forensic evidence including fingerprints, DNA, mobile phone records, handwriting anaylsis and police traffic camera recordings all pointed towards Qazimaj being the killer of the Stuarts.

Evidence from people who had known or worked with Qazimaj supported the prosecution assertion that he was not a victim of mistaken identity, said

Mr Khalil.

It was claimed by the prosecution during the trial that Qazimaj, who had a gambling habit, had believed Mr and Mrs Stuart to be millionaires and had used a bank card belonging to Mrs Stuart to obtain cash following her disappearance.

Giving evidence in his own defence, the man who said he was actually Vital Dapi,

He told the court that he was a former Albanian soldier who had paid a trafficker 300 euros to get him to Luxembourg City to search for work and had no knowledge of or connection with the disappearance of the Stuarts.

The trial judge, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith, is expected to begin summing up the evidence to the jury tomorrow (Thursday). The jury are expected to retire to begin considering their verdicts by the end of the week.