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Man found guilty of murder after restaurant row stabbing

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Man found guilty of murder after restaurant row stabbing

A drunk, violent man who stabbed another man to death over a row in a restaurant has been found guilty.

Aturas Kurpis, 39 (13.05.1983) of St Anne’s Row, Limehouse appeared at the Old Bailey on Friday, 2 December where he was convicted of the murder of Paulius Karalius and possession of an offensive weapon.

He will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Friday, 9 December.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: “Kurpis is a man with a history of violence who has previously carried out numerous assaults and has served time in prison for a knife offence. In contrast, Paulius Karalius was a man of good character who was just spending a Friday night out with his girlfriend.

“Kurpis was drunk, but his intent that night was clear. He threatened to stab Paulius in a phone call, went to his flat, armed himself with a knife and then went downstairs to do bloody murder.

“Kurpis has been found guilty and I am sure that London will be a better place with him behind bars for a long time, but this will only be a small consolation to the family and friends of Paulius. This is another young life lost to a senseless scourge of knife crime and the loss will never leave those affected.”

The court heard how Kurpis had numerous convictions including threatening behaviour with a blade (kitchen knife) for which he was imprisoned for 18 months, common assault, battery, possession of a knife, assault on police and being drunk and disorderly.

He also has convictions for criminal damage and theft in Lithuania, from where he originated, and a conviction for assault in Spain.

On Friday, 5 November Paulius, who was also of Lithuanian descent, had gone with his girlfriend to a restaurant in Leytonstone. His girlfriend lived in the same road as Kurpis.

Kurpis was also at the restaurant and the mood was jovial until he became drunk and began snatching the microphone from the singer and behaving badly.

Paulius and a couple of his friends told Kurpis to leave and this appeared to anger him.

A short while later, a person at the restaurant received a call from Kurpis. The phone was held up on ‘speaker phone’, so everyone could hear. During the call, witnesses reported hearing Kurpis threatening to stab Paulius.

Paulius left the restaurant later and went to his girlfriend’s home. As he left her building with three other people, Kurpis confronted him outside.

Kurpis had gone in to his apartment, armed himself with a kitchen knife which he wrapped in a green cloth, and then set out to confront the group.

Paulius received a single stab wound to the chest. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent heart surgery, however he died six days later.

A subsequent post mortem examination discovered his brain had been starved of oxygen as a result on the wound inflicted, which had struck his heart.

Paulius’ friends fought with Kurpis and took the kitchen knife off him. Kurpis then made his way back to the flat and called police saying he had been assaulted.

Two of the attending officers realised the call could be linked to the stabbing and forced entry to the flats, following a blood trail to Kurpis’ flat.

He opened the door and was arrested and cautioned. He appeared very drunk and was abusive and violent towards officers.

The knife used to kill was a ‘Kitchen Devils’ carving type knife, 35cm in total length with a sharp point. Similar style knives were found in his kitchen.

After being interviewed, Kurpis was released on bail to stay at a hotel in Ilford because his own address was still being forensically examined.

When the murder investigation team went to the hotel to re-arrest him on 9 November, they found he had left 24 hours before.

He was eventually tracked down and arrested for murder at an address in Dartford and was later charged.

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