Murder accused ‘reacted to attack by lodger’

A FORMER soldier accused of murdering his lodger using hand-to-hand combat techniques he learnt in the Russian special forces has told a court he never intended to kill him.

Jevgenijs Maksimovs gave evidence at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday having admitted killing 43-year-old Jurijs Baklasovs at his home in Hayhill Road, Ipswich, on December 20 last year.

But the 37-year-old ex-soldier and bodyguard denies murder and told a jury that he had reacted to an unprovoked attack by an aggressively drunk Mr Baklasovs, who had been renting a room in the house for two months.

Maksimovs dragged Mr Baklasovs’ body to the boot of his BMW, where it remained overnight, before driving to a farm in Framlingham and dumping it in a ditch, the court was told.

Maksimovs said the two had been drinking vodka alone when the incident happened in the garden of his house, which he also shared with his wife and son, and Mr Baklasovs’ stepdaughter Inga.

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Mr Baklasovs, a Latvian who also spent 20 years as a soldier, is claimed by Maksimovs to have approached him from behind and hit him with a bucket.

“I put up my right arm but he continued to wave the bucket and struck me a second time,” said Maksimovs.

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After pushing him to the ground and kneeling on his chest, Maksimovs said he directed two or three punches to his face before Mr Baklasovs’ arms stopped moving.

Maksimovs told the court he went inside for about half-an-hour before returning to the garden and finding Mr Baklasovs dead.

“I was very scared of the consequences and didn’t want to lose my family,” said Maksimovs.

He said he wrapped the body in a bin bag and dragged it to the boot of his car.

Prosecutor Andrew Jackson asked Maksimovs why, if Mr Baklasovs was drunk, did he not avoid any confrontation by walking away.

Maksimovs replied: “I regret very much not having enough common sense to walk away.”

Mr Jackson suggested Maksimovs was not attacked and had injured his right arm when he fell while carrying Mr Baklasovs’ body.

“You killed him deliberately and tried to cover your tracks,” he said.

Maksimovs replied: “It was a complete accident but I admit I was trying to cover the traces.”

Closing speeches are expected to be made today.

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