Albanian migrant 'confessed to friend after murdering retired couple he thought were millionaires to try and pay his gambling debt'

AN ALBANIAN migrant confessed to a friend he had "done a bad thing" after murdering a retired couple he thought were millionaires to try and pay his gambling debt, a court heard.

Ali Qazimaj, 43, allegedly stabbed Peter Stuart, 75, nine times with "severe force" before killing his 69-year-old wife Sylvia – whose body has never been found.

Qazimaj, who claims to be a victim of mistaken identity, is accused of trying to hide the Mr Stuart's body in tarpaulin in a water-filled ditch near to his home in Weybread, Suffolk.

But he denies murder and instead claims he is a victim of mistaken identity – alleging he's actually called Vital Dapi.

Ipswich Crown Court was yesterday told Qazimaj had a serious gambling problem and spent up to £1,000 a day on gaming machines at bookmakers near his home in Tilbury, Essex, where he was known as Marco Costa.

He worked as a carer for Sidney Paxman, whose son, Steven, was married to the Stuarts’ daughter Christy.

Prosecutor Karim Khalil QC said Sidney Paxman had given Qazimaj around £10,000 over a number of years and had told him that Mr and Mrs Stuart were millionaires.



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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.

"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 prosecution today claimed "damning forensic results" showed fingerprints meant he was the culprit.

DNA evidence of the victims was found in his abandoned silver Citroen C3, the jury heard.

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.

Mr Khalil 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.

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.

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.

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