Goodmayes double murder: Man killed 'friends' at Russian New Year party

A forensic officer at the scene in Tavistock Gardens, Ilford, east London after two men died at a pr

A forensic officer at the scene of the murder in Tavistock Gardens, Goodmayes, last January - Credit: PA

A man from Plaistow has been found guilty of murdering two friends in Goodmayes during a drunken celebration of the Russian New Year.

Georgian national Vepkhvia Laliashvili, 51, of Prince Regent Lane, fatally stabbed Lithuanians Dainius Kulboka and Jonas Semenas in January last year.

Laliashvili, formerly known as Vytautas Garmus, was found guilty at the Old Bailey today (Monday, July 18).

Jurors deliberated for less than a day to reach the verdict, after the defendant had previously denied two counts of murder.

Laliashvili will return to the same court for sentencing on Thursday (July 21).

Shortly after midnight on January 10, the victims - both aged 44 - were found dead in Mr Kulboka's house in Tavistock Gardens where all three had spent the evening drinking.

Jurors heard that, on the night of the double killing, Laliashvili had shared five bottles of brandy with the victims.

The reason for the outbreak of extreme violence is not known, but it was claimed that the defendant owed the victims some £30,000.

Prosecutor James Dawes QC had told jurors the evidence indicated that Laliashvili killed or incapacitated one man and then killed the other.

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The defendant used knives he found at the house to inflict eight deep stab wounds to Mr Kulboka, and 52 stab injuries Mr Semenas, some of which were "very deep".

The prosecution claimed the attack could be heard on a doorbell camera opposite the house, with one of the victims heard pleading with the defendant to stop after he had apparently already stabbed the other.

In distressing audio played in court, a voice could be heard begging: “Please don’t kill, please don’t stab him.

“What are you doing?…Don’t stab him. What has he done to you?”

As the attack continued, the defendant phoned his partner to pick him up, jurors were told.

Police officers entered the house and found the bloody remains of Mr Kulboka in the hallway and the second victim lying near the patio doors.

There was blood on the walls, floors and curtains on the ground floor.

A small amount of cocaine was found in the flat and both victims had the drug in their systems.

The defendant was arrested two days later.

Giving evidence, he claimed he had no memory of events but said he would not have attacked the two men, who worked in construction.