Gainsborough murder trial: A series of fires were started around the home of Ivans Zdanovics

Ivans Zdanovics
Ivans Zdanovics

A Gainsborough man was murdered in his own home after a series of fires were started around the property, a jury at Lincoln Crown Court was told.

The body of Ivans Zdanovics, 24, was discovered inside a bedroom at the house he rented in Etherington Street in the town after a friend called to see him.

James House QC, prosecuting, told the jury in a retrial that there was fire damage to the terraced house and the gas rings on the oven hob had been turned on.

He said five separate seats of fire were found around the house which appeared to have burned themselves out.

A post-mortem examination revealed that Mr Zdanovics died as a result of smoke inhalation.

Martynas Kupstys and Andrus Giedraitis, who are alleged to have spent the previous evening drinking with Mr Zdanovics, are accused of murdering him.

Mr House said that both defendants later gave false accounts to police about events of the evening and have since admitted charges of perverting the course of justice but they deny murder.

The prosecutor told the jury: “The body of Ivans Zdanovics was discovered in the bedroom of his home address on the morning of 17th January 2014. It was discovered by a friend of his who had intended to meet him that morning.”

“The emergency services were called. On arrival at the scene police and fire officers discovered extensive smoke damage at the scene.”

“The five-ring gas burner in the kitchen had been turned on and remained on for a substantial part of the day.”

“It seems that the fires had simply burned themselves out because of a starvation of oxygen.”

“It is the prosecution case that these two defendants set five seats of fire. In addition we say one of them turned on those gas rings.”

Mr House said that on the evening of 16th January, Mr Zdanovics was drinking with his friend Aldis Logonovs.

But after leaving Mr Logonovs’ home he later met up with Kupstys and Giedraitis and spent time with them.

The prosecutor said there was CCTV evidence showing Kupstys and Geiraitis entering Etherington Street. Evidence from one camera in the early hours, he said, showed a figure open the door to Mr Zdanovics’ home and smoke appear to be coming from the property before the door was closed again.

Forensic examination of the property after the incident revealed a fingerprint and a palm print in soot which were made by Kupstys.

Mr House said: “Those marks were made upon the wall at a time when the wall already had soot on it. Kupstys has been in the house at a time when at least one of the fires has been set alight.”

Martynas Kupstys, 26, of Aegir Close, Gainsborough, and Andrus Giedraitis, 30, of Riseholme Road, Gainsborough, each deny the murder of Ivans Zdanovics between 15th and 18th January 2014.

The hearing continues.