Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Agim Hoxha murder: Arben Lleshi given life sentence

Arben Lleshi (left) and Afrim Lleshi
Image caption Arben Lleshi (left) was convicted of murder while Afrim Lleshi was cleared of the charge

A man has been jailed for a minimum of 32 years for killing an Albanian drug dealer who was found dead in a burnt-out car near Southampton.

A jury at Winchester Crown Court found fellow Albanian Arben Lleshi, 27, guilty of murdering Agim Hoxha.

The body of Mr Hoxha, 29, was found in his Mercedes in Chilworth Drove, Chilworth, on 10 April last year.

Co-accused Afrim Lleshi, 37, was cleared of murder but was jailed for perverting the course of justice.

The exact cause of Mr Hoxha's death is unknown, but police believe he was killed at a flat in Shirley Road, Southampton.

Post-mortem tests revealed he was dead before the car fire, as no smoke was found in his lungs.

Life sentence

Arben Lleshi, of Onslow Road, Southampton, was given a life sentence, with a minimum term of 32 years.

He was also sentenced to four years for perverting the course of justice, to run concurrently.

Image caption Agim Hoxha was involved in the drugs trade

Fellow Albanian Afrim Lleshi, of Shirley Road, Southampton, who is not related to the killer, was sentenced to three years and three months for perverting the course of justice because he disposed of the body.

Det Insp Scott Clarke, senior investigating officer, said after the hearing: "At the beginning of the investigation we were faced with an unidentified victim, no murder scene or weapon and no immediate suspects.

"We quickly made inroads into the Albanian community, developing an intelligence picture and evidence trail that led our officers to Albania and then Italy where Arben Lleshi was arrested."

He added: "Although we may never know the exact motive for Mr Hoxha's murder we are convinced it was because of his involvement in the drugs trade."

In a statement, Mr Hoxha's family said: "What our family wanted is justice for the murder of Agim and today that justice has been done.

"May Agim's soul rest in peace."

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