Man ‘impeded’ homicide investigation

The trial of a man charged with impeding a homicide investigation has heard the killer’s partner and children sought refuge in a neighbour’s house shortly before the killing as they were in fear of the killer.

The 54-year-old man on trial for impeding claims he was under duress when he helped move the body and clean up the scene. The killer is not currently on trial.

The Central Criminal Court has heard Audrius Butkus, 44, was ‘battered to death’ in a house in Louth before his body was dumped at a nearby beach. Aivars Sondors is charged with three counts of assisting an offender on September 9 or 10, 2013 by impeding the apprehension or prosecution of Marius Gaizutis, knowing or believing him to have unlawfully killed Mr Butkus.

The particulars include moving the body from a house on Marsh Road in Drogheda and placing it in the sea at Mornington Beach; cleaning up the scene at Marsh Road; and disposing of carpet, clothing, and other items from the scene at the Burke House, Mathew’s Lane, Drogheda.

Mr Sondors of Sycamore Close, Termon Abbey in Drogheda has admitted the three allegations against him, but has pleaded not guilty to all three counts. His barrister says the issue for the jury would be whether there had been duress.

Carmen Canales testified yesterday that she lived across the road from Marius Gaizutis at the time. She said that his partner knocked on her door on September 9.

“She said: Please open the door because my husband is going to beat me up and I’m with my children”, she said, explaining that the woman had previously confided in her that her partner had been aggressive. Ms Canales opened the door and said the woman and her five children were crying and shaking.

She let them in and they spent the night in her house. They left at 5am. Ms Canales asked the woman to avoid being seen leaving so she too would not become a victim of Mr Gaizutis. Under cross examination by Colman Fitzgerald SC, defending, she agreed the woman had said: “Open the door please. My husband’s killing me,” and that she had made a throat-cutting gesture.

The trial continues on Monday before Ms Justice Carmel Stewart.


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