Jolanta killers get total of 48 years for 'wicked and chilling' crime
THE ruthless killers of a Lithuanian migrant worker whose body was cut up and dumped in the sea were jailed for at least 28 and 20 years yesterday.
A judge said Vitas Plytnykas, 41, and Aleksandras Skirda, 20, had plotted to rob Jolanta Bledaite, 35, of her savings and then to murder her and dispose of the body.
• In pictures: the Jolanta Bledaite murder case
"You executed this wicked scheme with determined ruthlessness and a chilling lack of pity," Lord Pentland told the two Lithuanians at the High Court in Edinburgh.
"I am not at all persuaded that either of you has shown any genuine sign of remorse."
The 28 years given to Plytnykas, who is on a hunger strike in protest at his conviction, is one of the heaviest sentences handed down by a judge in Scotland.
Ms Bledaite's family welcomed the sentences as "just", but said they would have preferred Plytnykas and Skirda to have served their time in their homeland, where prison conditions are much poorer.
Sue Smith, a friend of the family, said: "Jolanta's mother and grandmother would like Plytnykas to stay in prison for his entire life, because he has done many cruel criminal offences in his past before this awful crime, and is a very dangerous man for anyone he meets if he is a free man again.
"Jolanta's grandmother, Albina, says, 'They must feel as Jolanta did when she was murdered, when they tortured her and then killed her. But it is not possible for them ever to feel the pain and horror Jolanta must have felt, or to feel the sadness of the people who knew and cared for Jolanta during her time in Scotland. The final deserved punishment for Vitas Plytnykas and Aleksandras Skirda will be fixed by the God that they will have to answer to'."
Ms Smith went on: "Like me, the family question why dangerous criminals like Plytnykas are allowed to enter the UK and will now serve time at the taxpayers' expense in the UK."
Plytnykas was convicted of manslaughter in Germany in 2001 and given a jail sentence of seven and a half years. After being released, he was able to come to the United Kingdom to work as a farm labourer and stayed in Brechin, Angus, where Ms Bledaite and Skirda also lived.
Ms Bledaite had saved a few thousand pounds, and Plytnykas and Skirda learned that she had money in the bank.
On a Saturday morning in March last year, the pair went to Ms Bledaite's bedroom in a flat in South Esk Street, Brechin, tied her up and forced her to reveal the number for her bank cards. Plytnykas then left, and Skirda taped Ms Bledaite's mouth and smoked a cigarette as he watched over her lying on the floor.
Plytnykas returned with 200 drawn from Ms Bledaite's account, and she was then killed and dismembered.
That day, the two men took the head and hands on a bus to Arbroath and threw them into the sea. The next day, the killers returned to Arbroath with the body in a suitcase, wheeled it to the harbour and dropped it into the water.
Two young sisters, playing on a beach at Arbroath, found the head in a black bin-bag on 1 April, and police discovered the hands nearby. Officers quickly identified Ms Bledaite and Skirda was arrested. He confessed, and divers recovered the suitcase from the sea.
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