HILLINGTON SQUARE: Drink driver is a double murderer
A Lynn man who appeared before town magistrates on drink driving and fraud charges was revealed to be a double murderer in his own country.
A solicitor representing Valentinas Vertelka told the court he had spent nine months on death row for the second killing before his death sentence was commuted to 15 years in prison.
After being released, the 53-year-old, now living in Hillington Square, Lynn, moved to England to work.
Solicitor Ian Graham said Vertelka had been very open and honest about his past.
He said: “It’s a very serious past indeed. He was convicted of murder in 1983 and while serving a prison sentence he was further convicted of killing a fellow prisoner.
“He was sentenced to death for the second murder but the sentence was rescinded and he ultimately received 15 years’ imprisonment.”
Mr Graham said his client had served the full 15 years and had led a law-abiding life in Lithuania and Britain after his release. It was to his credit that he had attempted to overcome his troubled and difficult past.
“He has had the trauma of spending nine months on death row. Many people in that position wouldn’t have had the fortitude to recover but he appears to have done his level best,” said Mr Graham.
The court was told the current offences were the first he was liable to be sentenced for in this country.
Vertelka appeared in court on Tuesday to be sentenced for driving with three times the legal amount of alcohol in his breath, without insurance and without a licence. He had previously admitted all the offences.
He was banned from driving for two years and sentenced to a 12-month community order and 200 hours’ unpaid work.
He was also before the court for sentencing on charges of fraud by false representation, driving without a licence and possessing a driving licence with intent to deceive. The court heard he initially denied the charges.
A trial took place at the magistrates’ court on Monday but after the prosecution evidence was completed Vertelka changed his plea to guilty.
He was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid work, to be served concurrently, and ordered to pay £260 costs. He offered to pay £10 per week.
Yvonne Neill, prosecuting, told the court the fraud offence came to light in August last year when Vertelka was stopped by police on the A10 and produced a forged Lithuanian driving licence.
The drink driving offence was committed in November last year. Police attended a report of a suspected drink driver in Ouse Avenue, South Lynn. Vertelka initially refused to get out of his car but eventually unlocked the door. Due to his unusual behaviour, he was arrested and was found to have 246 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The limit is 80.
UK ENTRY RULES
Lithuanian nationals have been free to enter the UK since the Baltic state joined the European Union in 2004.
It is not known exactly when double murderer Valentinas Vertelka arrived in Britain and immigration officials have told the Lynn News there would be no record of when he arrived unless specific information that he may be a threat to society had been received.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “Where we receive information that foreign nationals present a genuine serious threat to society, we are able to take action to prevent their entry to the UK.
“Without such information there would be no grounds to refuse an EU national entry to the UK.”
He added that the responsibility lay with the authorities in an individual’s country of origin to make the British authorities aware of an person’s criminal record.
Meanwhile, officials from Freebridge Community Housing, which owns the address Vertelka gave to the court, said he was not a tenant.
Director of housing Robert Clarke said: “We can confirm that the individual in question is not a Freebridge Tenant. Tenants are entitled to have friends or family stay with them and are only required to inform Freebridge when a formal lodging agreement is entered into.”
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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