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MURDER TRIAL: DNA of Weybread couple found in murder suspect’s abandoned car, 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.

The man suspected of killing two Weybread pensioners told a friend he had “done a bad thing” shortly before the body of one of them was found, a court heard.

Ali Qazimaj, 43, allegedly used “severe force” to stab Peter Stuart, 75, nine times before attempting to hide him in tarpaulin in a water-filled ditch near to his home.

Ipswich Crown Court
Ipswich Crown Court

He is also charged with the murder of Peter’s wife, Sylvia Stuart, 69, even though her body has never been found.

Qazimaj, who claims to be a victim of mistaken identity, was today dubbed a “lying murderer” after DNA evidence of the victims was found in his abandoned silver Citroen C3.

Grey hairs matching the DNA of Sylvia were found in the boot of his car and blood belonging to Peter was found on the door.

After ditching his car at the port of Dover, Qazimaj was located and arrested in Luxembourg on June 16 before being extradited back to England.

They (scientists) found it (the car) was very clean, but the outside edge of the front offside door had traces of blood on it, from which a DNA profile was obtained.
Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting

He has since denied being Qazimaj, but yesterday (Weds) the prosecution claimed “damning forensic results” showed fingerprints meant he was the culprit.

Qazimaj, who lived in Tilbury, Essex, had gambling debts and was known in bookmakers by the name of Marco Costa.

Ipswich Crown Court was told he now claims to be a man called Vital Dapi, but the finger prints of Qazimaj and Dapi are matching.

Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting, said: “We say that Peter Stuart and Sylvia Stuart were murdered. Peter’s body hidden in water covered to try and delay or in order to prevent it from being found.

“When it was found it was clear he had been brutally stabbed to death. Sylvia’s body, not found.”

He continued: “The killer is a man called Ali Qazimaj... He was by then already running two identities calling himself Ali Qazimaj and Marco Costa.

“He’s no stranger to providing a false account of himself.”

Concerns grew for the Stuarts in June last year when they failed to turn up to their regular line dancing class near their home in Weybread, Suffolk.

They were last seen alive on CCTV at a food market stall on May 29 and over the following days Mrs Stuart’s Barclaycard was used to withdraw cash.

The couple were reported missing on June 3 and officers found “no signs of a fight” and “no signs of a struggle” when their house was visited.

Two officers then searched the nearby area and discovered Peter’s concealed body.

In the days after the alleged murders, which are said to have taken place between May 29 and June 3, Qazimaj resigned from his job at a recycling centre.

Mr Khalil said: “He knew the net eventually would start to close around him.”

The jury were told the defendant was known to the couple as he had been a carer to their son-in-law’s parents, Nellie and Sidney Paxman, for a number of years.

Mr Khalil said: “He (Qazimaj) commented to Sidney to the effect that he had done a bad thing and had resigned from Shields (his job). He didn’t elaborate further.”

The following day on June 4 Qazimaj was spotted on CCTV at a Paddy Powers and Corals in Grays, Essex.

Ipswich Crown Court was told Qazimaj had a gambling habit and was in “financial difficulties”.

His car was spotted on the Dartford crossing and found abandoned in Dover with a cricket bat and sports bag in the boot with a Morrison’s bag in the passenger footwell.

Mr Khalil said: “They (scientists) found it (the car) was very clean, but the outside edge of the front offside door had traces of blood on it, from which a DNA profile was obtained.

“That DNA profile matched the DNA profile belonging to Peter Stuart.”

Mr Khalil said “a number of human hairs” were found in the boot which matched to Sylvia.

The court heard fingerprints matching Qazimaj and the man he is claiming to be, Vital Dapi, were found on the Morrison’s bag.

Qazimaj, of Tilbury, Essex, claimed asylum from Kosovo in 1999 and became a UK citizen in 2005.

Qazimaj had previously been arrested on minor charges and a “special forces” themed tattoo matches up with the tattoo on the defendant, the jury heard.

He denies two counts of murder.

The trial, which is expected to last three to four weeks, continues in the presence of Mr Justice Jeremy Stuart-Smith.

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