Vytautas Kiminius: On-the-run killer driver flew in national competition

By Phil Shepka
BBC News

Image source, Vytautas Kiminius/Youtube
Image caption,
A video of Vytautas Kiminius flying an aircraft above Peterborough was posted on Youtube in December 2017

A killer driver who fled the UK before he could be jailed competed in a national flying championship while on the run, police believe.

Vytautas Kiminius, 36, left the country after being convicted of causing the death of Rachel Radwell by dangerous driving in Cambridgeshire.

In July 2020, while an internationally wanted criminal, he was involved in a competition in his native Lithuania.

Three months later, he handed himself in to police and began a prison term.

On Wednesday, Kiminius was sentenced for further separate offences, including conspiracy to handle stolen goods, taking his total jail sentence to more than 12 years.

Following his latest sentence, Det Insp Rob Turner, from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, said: "Although only Kiminius himself will know for certain, there are multiple indications that he took part in flying competitions while in Lithuania, despite being classed as a wanted man.

"We worked tirelessly with stakeholders both here in the UK and abroad to ensure he was apprehended and rightly served the sentences handed to him by the courts, and I'm glad he has now also been convicted of these latest offences."

Image source, Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption,
Rachel Radwell was a "much-loved daughter and aunt", the judge said at Kiminius's sentencing hearing

Kiminius cut a corner on a blind bend on the B1095 near Peterborough in November 2018, crashing head-on into a vehicle being driven by Ms Radwell, killing the 46-year-old veterinary nurse.

A jury found him guilty in February 2020, but police believe he fled the UK with his family shortly after the trial.

Kiminius, previously of Sudbury Court, Peterborough, was jailed for four-and-a-half years in his absence in May, but reporting restrictions meant the media were unable to say he had not begun his jail term.

Four years before his conviction, Kiminius was featured in an article about his Aeroprakt A-22 Foxbat aircraft, which had the tail number LY-UCB.

In Lithuania, Kiminius, who shares that name with his father, goes by the name of Vytautas Sakelis.

The online results of the ULO Lithuanian Championship 2020 has both the names of Vytautas Kiminius and Vytautas Sakelis as participants with LY-UCB.

The duo were only involved in the second of the three stages, held in Paluknys, which, according to a poster for the event, was on 18 July 2020.

Image source, Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption,
Vytautas Kiminius was jailed in his absence

The BBC successfully applied for the reporting restrictions to be lifted in October, and later that month he handed himself in to police to start his sentence.

Before he gave himself up, Ms Radwell's family said they "probably never will come to terms with what has happened", adding that him fleeing the country "only makes it worse to bear".

Kiminius' latest court hearing was told the Range Rover he had been driving at the time of the fatal crash had been stolen six weeks earlier.

Police "found evidence of four further stolen vehicles" when searching addresses linked to Kiminius.

He was also sentenced for being concerned in the production of cannabis, failure to surrender and seven counts of conceal/disguise/convert criminal property.

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