Man to stand trial over death of friend who was kicked to death

A man who allegedly kicked his friend to death and tried to carve the word “rat” into his chest is to stand trial for his murder, a judge ordered today.

By Alan Erwin
Friday, 18th December 2020, 11:20 am
Belfast Magistrates' Court
Belfast Magistrates' Court

Sarunas Nauburaitis, 34, is also accused of stealing and using a bank card belonging to the victim whose body lay undiscovered for up to a week.

Police found 44-year-old Maris Ludborzs lying dead in the kitchen of the defendant’s north Belfast home in May this year.

A sleeping bag had been placed over his body and a toy skeleton rodent was located in his boxer shorts, detectives previously disclosed.

Mr Ludborzs’ identity was only confirmed after checks were carried out in his native Latvia.

Nauburaitis, a Lithuanian national of Oakley Street in the city, is charged with carrying out the murder on a date unknown between May 14-24.

He faces two further counts of theft and fraud by false representation in connection with one of Mr Ludborzs’ bank cards.

He was arrested after walking into a PSNI station just before the body was discovered.

Police told an earlier hearing that Nauburaitis claimed to have kicked the victim about the head and body for offending him during a drinking session.

He also allegedly said that he attempted to pour bleach on Mr Ludborzs face, put a bin bag over his head and tried to carve “rat” in his chest.

During a preliminary enquiry hearing at Belfast Magistrates’ Court today the accused confirmed that he understood the charges against him.

He declined to call witnesses or give evidence at this stage.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey did not contest prosecution submissions that his client has a case to answer.

On that basis District Judge George Conner granted an application for the case to proceed to trial.

He told the defendant: “You will be returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court on a date to be fixed.”

Nauburaitis remains in custody and is expected to appear again for arraignment early next year.