A 29-year-old man has been jailed for life after being convicted of murdering his neighbour in Leiston last year.
Oskars Kantors appeared at Ipswich Crown Court today, Friday 17th November, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of 21 years and nine months.
Kantors, of Old School Close in Leiston, was found guilty of murder on Wednesday (15th November), following a trial lasting just over two weeks. He had previously admitted two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm against two other victims.
The court heard that the murder and both of the assaults had all occurred in Leiston on Monday 17th October 2022 and had a common motive – Kantors’ jealousy over either past or current relationships that he believed people to have had with his girlfriend.
Police were called by the Ambulance Service at 8.50pm that night reporting that a man had been assaulted at an address in Old School Close.
The victim – Agris Leigavnieks, aged 41 and also of Old School Close – was taken to Ipswich Hospital by ambulance in a critical condition, where he later sadly died.
Oskars Kantors was quickly identified as a suspect and was arrested near to the scene later the same evening. He was initially taken to Ipswich Hospital for treatment under police guard, before being transferred to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning.
Kantors was subsequently charged with murder on Thursday 20th October and appeared at court the following day.
The first incident had occurred at just before 5pm in a flat off High Street, which was the home of Kantors’ ex-girlfriend.
Whilst there, Kantors attacked a 50-year-old man, knocking him to the floor and then punching him numerous times to the face. He only stopped when the police were called by his ex-girlfriend and had left by the time officers arrived. The victim required hospital treatment for his injuries.
The second offence occurred at approximately 8.20pm at an address in Old School Close, where the victim – a woman aged in her 20s – was upstairs bathing her young child.
She heard the front door open and slam shut, followed by footsteps up the stairs and Kantors then appeared in the doorway. He lunged at her, grabbed her hair and then picked her up, turned her upside down and slammed her onto the floor, leaving immediately afterwards.
The victim, who was known to Kantors as a local resident, sustained an injury to her knee as a result of this attack. This incident was not reported to police until just after 9pm.
The final and fatal attack occurred between the time of this incident and 8.50pm when police were called to the neighbouring property where Agris Leigavnieks lived. Agris had been found by his housemates on the floor of his room barely breathing and an ambulance was called as a result.
Meanwhile, Kantors was back at home where a neighbour overheard him arguing with his girlfriend. The neighbour went to see what was going on and found Kantors with a towel on his head which was bloodstained.
Kantors said his girlfriend had hit him with a bottle, which she confirmed, and so the neighbour took Kantors round to his house. While there, Kantors stated that he had stabbed Agris Leigavnieks and did not seem concerned by what he had done. Following this revelation, the neighbour asked Kantors to leave the house, which he reacted angrily to.
Kantors then disclosed to another person that he had beaten up the victim of the first attack earlier in the day and that he suspected his girlfriend was having an affair with Agris Leigavnieks.
Following police arrival at the scene, Kantors had remained in Old School Close and was subsequently arrested following information provided to officers by the various witnesses.
During the trial, it was heard that Kantors had been drinking alcohol throughout the day and he admitted wanting to put Mr Leigavnieks ‘in hospital’ but did not intend to kill him. He also said he was an alcoholic, claiming he was of diminished responsibility when he attacked Mr Leigavnieks.
His defence counsel expanded on this point, stating that he was suffering with alcohol dependency syndrome – a recognised medical condition – and forensic psychiatrists provided expert witness testimony on this matter.
However, the jury rejected this defence and alternative manslaughter charges, finding him guilty of murder by a unanimous verdict.
Detective Chief Inspector Matthew Connick, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “These were senseless attacks with the most serious resulting in the loss of life. Oskars Kantors’ jealousy over his girlfriend’s previous relationship with Agris Leigavnieks and his ex-girlfriend’s new relationship at that time, all unravelled on 17th October last year as he carried out his spree of attacks.
“Having punched a man in the face so many times he required hospital treatment, he later went on to enter three houses next to each other In Old School Close, subjecting a young mother in one of those addresses to a terrifying ordeal while she was bathing her baby, before he then entered the address of Agris, killing him in cold blood.
“The murder took place in a close-knit residential area of Leiston and the impact was felt by the majority of the people in Old School Close. I would like to thank the residents for providing evidence to help the investigation team build a comprehensive case.
“A life has been needlessly lost and our thoughts are with all those associated with Agris Leigavnieks.”
Written by: John