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Gainsborough murder trial: Accused admits to starting the fires but that he did not intend to harm Ivans

Ivans Zdanovics
Ivans Zdanovics

One of the men accused of murder following a blaze at a house in Gainsborough has admitted he started a series of fires in the property.

Martynas Kupstys admitted he caused the death of the victim Ivans Zdanovicvs ,24, unlawfully but said he did not intend to kill Mr Zdanovics or cause him serious harm.

Kupstys told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court that moments before starting the fires he had checked the terraced property in Etherington Street and believed the no-one else was in.

Kupstys, who is on trial for murder alongside his brother-in-law Andrus Giedraitis, said that he had been asked by Mr Zdanovics, to deliver a bag of cannabis to a Polish man.

But when he arrived at the meeting point no-one turned up and he took the drugs back to Zdanovics’ home.

Speaking through a Lithuanian interpreter Kupstys said “I returned the bag and I couldn’t find Ivans.”

“That made me feel stupid.”

“I set light to one towel.”

“The towel in the kitchen hanging on the oven.”

“I wanted to damage it.”

He said he started the fire with a rolled up piece of paper he lit from the gas hob.

Kupstys said he started further fires setting light to a jacket and a cloth in the dining room before throwing the remains of the paper onto a jacket hanging on the arm-rest of the sofa.

He told the jury “I didn’t want the sofa to catch fire.”

Defence barrister Paul Mann QC asked Kupstys: “Were you intending to set the house on fire?”

He replied: “No.”

In further questions Mr Mann asked: “Do you accept that one of the fires that you set was on the sofa?”

Kupstys replied: “Yes.”

Mr Mann continued: “Do you accept that as a result of that fire Ivans died?”

Kupstys replied: “Yes”

The defence barrister then asked him: “Do you accept you caused his death unlawfully?”

Kupstys replied: “Yes.”

Kupstys then went on to deny that he intended Mr Zdanovics to die or that he intended to cause him serious harm.

He added: “I only wanted to damage his things.”

“I’m not trying to blame anyone else.”

He told the jury that during the time he started the fires his co-accused Giedraitis was not inside the property.