A man has today (March 14) been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 35 years, for the murder of an elderly married couple from Suffolk.
Ali Qazimaj, 43, claimed he was the victim of mistaken identity. But the jury at Ipswich Crown Court found him guilty of killing pensioners Peter and Sylvia Stuart, who disappeared from their home in Weybread. Mr Stuart’s body was discovered shortly afterwards with nine stab wounds. Mrs Stuart’s body has never been found.
Throughout his trial, Qazimaj used a false name and claimed he had never been to the UK. However the prosecution was able to build a convincing picture of a man with gambling debts and financial problems who became aware of Mr and Mrs Stuart, having been told they were a wealthy couple.
CCTV and phone evidence showed Qazimaj had been in the area around the Stuarts’ home several times before they vanished. His car, which he abandoned as he fled through Dover, contained his fingerprints. It also contained a number of hairs from Mrs Stuart in the boot and traces of Mr Stuart’s blood.
Qazimaj was arrested in Luxembourg in July and extradited.
Paul Scothern from the CPS said:
“Ali Qazimaj denied knowing Mr and Mrs Stuart, denied being Ali Qazimaj and denied ever travelling to the UK.
“Through their verdicts the jury has rejected all these lies after the prosecution successfully demonstrated that Qazimaj is in fact a double murderer.
“We would like to thank the Luxembourg authorities for their assistance and co-operation in this case.”
Notes to Editors
- Ali Qazimaj pleaded not guilty to two charges of murder, of Peter and Sylvia Stuart, between 29 May 2016 and 3 June 2016.
- Paul Scothern is Crown Advocate in the CPS East of England’s Complex Casework Unit.