Wisbech burnt body: Man cleared of murdering Mindaugas Arlauskas

image copyrightCambs Police
image captionMindaugas Arlauskas' body was found on an industrial estate in Wisbech on 9 May

A man has been cleared of murdering another man whose beaten body was set alight on an industrial estate.

Mindaugas Arlauskas, 28, was found dead by a passer-by in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire on 9 May.

Prosecutors told jurors he had been beaten to death in the back garden of Tomas Lazdauskas, 24.

Lazdauskas, of Milner Road, admitted manslaughter and was cleared by a jury of murder. Donatas Umbrasas, of Albany Road, had already admitted murder.

Prosecutor Timothy Cray QC had told Peterborough Crown Court that the three Lithuanian men had been drinking on Friday, 8 May and later that day, at about 21:30 BST, Mr Arlauskas, known as Minda, arrived at Lazdauskas' house.

image copyrightTerry-Harris.com
image captionTomas Lazdauskas had admitted manslaughter but denied murder
image copyrightCambridgeshire Police
image captionThe court heard Donatas Umbrasas and Tomas Lazdauskas set fire to their victim's clothes after he was already dead

Mr Cray said about seven minutes later "Minda looked as if he was trying to leave the address", but Lazdauskas "took hold of Minda's bicycle, turned him around and shepherded him back into the house".

"Less than 50 minutes after that Minda was dead or dying," Mr Cray said.

The court heard a pathologist found more than 20 separate injury sites on his body, and prosecutors alleged weapons including a metal bar, part of a chair and a child's bike were used in the attack.

image copyrightTerry-Harris.com
image captionMr Arlauskas's body was found on Sandall Road in the Cambridgeshire town

Lazdauskas and Umbrasas then left for the latter's house, returned later and "loaded Minda's body onto his own bicycle", Mr Cray said.

They wheeled the body to an industrial estate where they set Mr Arlauskas' clothes on fire, by which time it is thought he was already dead.

Mr Cray said Lazdauskas had accepted "he wanted [Umbrasas] to beat up Minda that night, however he denies that he shared [Umbrasas's] intent to inflict really serious harm on Minda".

After the trial, Det Insp Emma Pitts said: "Because of the barbaric actions of Lazdauskas and Umbrasas, a young man has been struck down in the prime of his life.

"While it might not have been Lazdauskas' intention to commit murder, he knowingly lured Mindaugas to his house, aware of the fact Umbrasas intended to hurt him."

No date has been set for sentencing.

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