Royston murder - full report

THOMAS Navickas kicked his partner to death while drunk before going back to bed without getting help for her, a court heard on Monday.

TOMAS Navickas beat his partner to death while drunk, before going back to bed without getting help for her, a court heard on Monday.

The 32-year-old was given a life sentence – 14 years – at Luton Crown Court after pleading guilty to the murder of Svetlana Olsevka at their Ermine Close home in March last year.

The mother of a 22-year-old daughter, Ms Olsevka, 43, sustained internal bleeding caused by injuries to the chest and stomach, a post-mortem revealed.

On the night of March 15 last year other residents in the shared property heard noises coming from the couple’s room, but that was not unusual.

The alarm was raised in the morning when blood was found in the hallway and shared bathroom.

Police had to break into the room as it was locked on the inside.

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Judge Richard Foster said: “That night, in drink, you attacked Svetlana relentlessly. You kicked her and you punched her and it was your shod foot and your hands that brought about her death.

“She would have been utterly helpless in the face of such a persistent attack.

“It took place in her own home and in the immediate aftermath you did not get help. You must have known what you had done but you returned to your bed where you were later found by police.

“One can barely imagine the grief that has been caused to her immediate family by what you have done. I hope this sentence will start to bring some closure for them.”

Prosecuting, Beverly Cripps said of the attack: “It was immediately apparent that she had been viciously attacked and that she was dead. The defendant was in bed asleep. He smelt of alcohol and was slow to respond.

“Police asked him: ‘How did this happen, did you do this’ and he [Navickas] said ‘yes, I did’.

“He was then asked how he had killed her and he said it was with his feet and asked if she was all right, but was told she was dead.”

Ms Cripps said the couple had both been drinking very heavily. She said Ms Olsevka had been seen previously with bruises to her face, and had told her mother that she was frightened of him and that he had assaulted her and threatened her with a knife.

“Bruising on her head, neck and chest was consistent with kicks or stamps from a shod foot,” said Miss Cripps.

The defendant’s sandals were forensically examined and had her blood and body tissue on them.

The victim also had ‘slash’ type injuries on her back and body, but four knives found in the flat could not be directly linked to the wounds, which had not been life threatening.

Navickas did not answer police questions but made derogatory remarks about Ms Olsevka to officers.

Ms Olsevka came to the UK from Latvia in 2006 to find work, and had been living with Navickas since 2009.

She had worked temporarily and was learning English in order to improve her employment opportunities.

As well as her daughter, she left behind a mother and a brother from the Daugavpils area of Latvia.

Defending, Christopher Strachan said: “He told a psychiatrist: ‘deep down I did not want to kill her, I had no reason to kill her.’

“He told another psychiatrist that she was his best friend and he could not understand how he could have done it. He said he regretted it very much and her death was a great loss to him.

“He is not able to say how the incident arose and developed, maybe due to an alcoholic blackout.”

Detective Inspector Sharn Basra from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: “This was such a tragic case. Svetlana was taken from the people she loved in such a cruel manner, and they have been left devastated.

“Svetlana came to the country for a better life and to send money home. She met Thomas Navickas, who was an alcoholic, and fell foul to the perils of alcohol.

“She suffered domestic abuse throughout their relationship, which went unreported and due to her having no other ties, she felt compelled to stay with him.

“On the night in question, both had been drinking, but he uncontrollably so, and his violence was so severe it tragically led to her death.

“Svetlana’s family described her as a loving and devoted mother. It is unfortunate that the first time her family came to the country it was due to these judicial proceedings, but I am pleased that Navickas pleaded guilty to spare the distress the trial would undoubtedly have brought them.”