A convicted criminal with a history of violence stabbed an innocent man to death over an argument in a restaurant.
Aturas Kurpis, 39, of St Anne’s Row, Limehouse, threatened to kill Paulius Karalius after he and friends asked Kurpis to leave a restaurant when his drunken behaviour turned nasty.
Kurpis went to his flat and fetched a carving knife, stabbing Karalius in the heart in front of his girlfriend.
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Appearing at the Old Bailey today (Friday, December 2), Kurpis, originally from Lithuania, was convicted of the murder of Paulius Karalius and possession of an offensive weapon.
On Friday, November 5, Paulius, who was also of Lithuanian descent, had gone with his girlfriend to a restaurant in Leytonstone. His girlfriend lived in the same road as Kurpis.
Kurpis was also at the restaurant and the mood was jovial until he became drunk and began snatching the microphone from the singer.
After Paulius and a couple of his friends told Kurpis to leave, a person at the restaurant received a call from Kurpis. The phone was held up on ‘speaker phone’, and witnesses reported hearing Kurpis threatening to stab Paulius.
Paulius left the restaurant later and went to his girlfriend’s home.
As he left her building with three other people, Kurpis confronted him with a kitchen knife which he wrapped in a green cloth.
Paulius received a single stab wound to the chest. He was rushed to hospital where he underwent heart surgery, but died six days later.
A subsequent post mortem examination discovered his brain had been starved of oxygen as a result of the wound.
Paulius’ friends fought Kurpis and took the kitchen knife off him.
But Kurpis returned to his flat, calling police to claim he had been assaulted.
Two officers realised the call could be linked to the stabbing and forced entry to the flats, following a blood trail to Kurpis’ flat.
He opened the door and was arrested and cautioned. He appeared very drunk and was abusive and violent.
After being interviewed, Kurpis was released on bail to stay at a hotel in Ilford because his address was still being forensically examined.
When the murder investigation team went to the hotel to rearrest him on November 9, they found he had left 24 hours before.
He was eventually tracked down and arrested at an address in Dartford.
He will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Friday, 9 December.
The court heard Kurpis had been jailed for threatening behaviour with a kitchen knife as well as convictions for common assault, battery, possession of a knife, assaulting police and being drunk and disorderly.
He also has convictions for criminal damage and theft in Lithuania and a conviction for assault in Spain.
Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Specialist Crime Command, said: “Kurpis has been found guilty and I am sure that London will be a better place with him behind bars for a long time, but this will only be a small consolation to the family and friends of Paulius. This is another young life lost to a senseless scourge of knife crime and the loss will never leave those affected.”
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