A 37-year-old who killed a fellow Lithuanian in a garage in Co Tyrone where a third man was being held against his will and tortured has been handed a 15-year sentence.
Darius Sikorskas, who was one of two men involved in beating, shooting and stabbing a man in a drink and drug-induced incident in October 2015, then turned on his fellow attacker.
Gediminus Stauskas, known as LaLa, died around eight hours after he was attacked by Sikorskas. Following the fatal attack, tape was placed over a head wound and a helmet was put over his head.
Sikorskas pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Stauskas, whose body was discovered in the upstairs area of the garage at Moor Road in Coalisland on October 15, 2015.
From Lambfield House in Dungannon, he also admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Grigorius Sviridovas, and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Branding the death of Mr Stauskas as “needless and tragic”, Madam Justice McBride handed Sikorskas an 11-year sentence. As he has been deemed dangerous by Probation, Sikorskas – who has a criminal record both in his native country as well as the Republic of Ireland – was given an extended licence period of four years, in a bid to protect the public.
Two other Lithuanian nationals, 29-year-old Marius Dzimisevicius from Cabhan Aluinn in Pomeroy and 43-year-old Dmitrijus Indrisiunas from The Shanoch in Coalisland, each admitted withholding information in the aftermath of the death of Mr Stauskas.
Both men were handed a 12-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years.
Dungannon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, heard the deceased Mr Stauskas and Sikorskas seriously assaulted a third Lithuanian – Grigorius Sviridovas – in the garage over a two-day period from Tuesday October 13 into the following day.
Crown prosecutor David McDowell QC told the court that after telling Mr Sviridovas to come to the garage, Mr Stauskas and Sikorskas “insisted” he take cocaine, smoke heroin and drink with them.
Mr Sviridovas was then subjected to a lengthy attack at the hands of the other two men in the office area of the garage.
After being threatened with a gun, Mr Sviridovas was forced to shoot himself in the thigh, and the wound was later cauterised by Sikorskas using a knife he washed in brandy.
Mr McDowell said Sikorskas and Mr Stauskas then left the office and “came into contact”. A badly injured Mr Sviridovas didn’t see the fatal incident but said it sounded like Sikorskas lifted Mr Stauskas and threw him to the floor.
The Crown QC said a plea to manslaughter was accepted to Sikorskas’s claim he “struck the deceased to the body with considerable force with the palm of his hand, causing him to fall forcefully to the floor and striking his head.
“To cause the severity of the injury to his head, which later caused his death, his head must have struck something in the fall, such as machinery which lay around the garage floor.”
The court heard Mr Sviridovas was then carried out of the office by Sikorskas, where he saw Mr Stauskas lying unconscious on the ground. At some point, Mr Stauskas regained consciousness for a brief period and was able to stand and lean against a wall.
An effort was made to place him in the front seat of a car in the garage, and he had tape applied to a wound on his head. A blanket was also put round him, and a helmet was put in his head.
Sikorskas subsequently let Mr Sviridovas leave the garage, and he was dropped home by Dmitrijus Indristunas, who the court heard ran a business from the premises in question. Marius Dzimisevicius then drove Sikorskas to an address in Coalisland.
The injured Mr Sviridovas went to a friend’s house and was later taken to Craigavon Area Hospital by ambulance.
Madam Justice McBride described the attack on Mr Sviridovas as “sustained” and with a “significant use of violence used”. She also spoke of the lasting impact the “degrading” attack has had on the victim, who sustained multiple wounds including a fractured femur, and burns to his neck and shoulders.
A police investigation led to the remains of the deceased Gediminus Stauskas being discovered in the upstairs area of the garage on October 15, 2015. He died from a fractured skull and bleeding on the brain.
Sikorskas evaded arrest for five days and was finally apprehended at an address in Portadown on October 20, while both Indrisiunas and Dzimisevicius were arrested the following month.
During sentencing, Madam Justice McBride said that after reading a victim impact statement from the deceased’s sister, it was clear Mr Stauskas’s death has had a “devastating impact” on his family.
She also noted that the man shot and tortured in the garage has been left with both physical and psychological problems, has undergone surgery three times and now lives in constant fear.