Drunken killer stabbed victim to death over petty row at east London restaurant

Killer: Arturas Kurpis (Met Police )
Killer: Arturas Kurpis (Met Police )

A drunken killer stabbed a man to death over an argument in an east London restaurant.

Aturas Kurpis, 39, of Limehouse, was convicted at the Old Bailey on Friday of murdering Paulius Karalius.

The court heard how the victim went to the restaurant on November 5 with his girlfriend, who also lived on the same road as Kurpis.

The mood was initially jovial, but soured after Kurpis got drunk, snatching a microphone from the restaurant singer and behaving badly.

Paulius and a couple of his friends told Kurpis to leave.

A short time later, Kurpis rang someone else at the restaurant on speakerphone and threatened to stab Paulius.

Paulius went to his girlfriend’s home, but when he left with three other people, Kurpis confronted him outside armed with a kitchen knife hidden in a green cloth.

Kurpis stabbed the victim once in the heart, which later caused him to die in hospital six days later.

Paulius’ friends fought with Kurpis and took the kitchen knife off him.

Kurpis then made his way back to the flat and called police saying he had been assaulted.

Police forced entry into the flats, following a blood trail to Kurpis’ flat, after realising the call could be linked to the stabbing.

The knife used to kill was a ‘Kitchen Devils’ carving type knife, 35cm in total length with a sharp point, said police.

After being arrested, Kurpis was released on bail to stay at a hotel in Ilford because his own address was still being forensically examined.

But when detectives went to re-arrest him four days after the stabbing, they found he had left.

He was eventually tracked down and arrested for murder at an address in Dartford and was later charged.

The court also heard how Kurpis had numerous convictions including threatening behaviour with a kitchen knife for which he was imprisoned for 18 months, common assault, battery, possession of a knife, assault on police and being drunk and disorderly.

He also has convictions for criminal damage and theft in Lithuania, from where he originated, and a conviction for assault in Spain.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil John, from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command, said Kurpis was a man with a “history of violence” while Paulius Karalius “was a man of good character who was just spending a Friday night out with his girlfriend.”

“Kurpis was drunk, but his intent that night was clear. He threatened to stab Paulius in a phone call, went to his flat, armed himself with a knife and then went downstairs to do bloody murder.

“Kurpis has been found guilty and I am sure that London will be a better place with him behind bars for a long time, but this will only be a small consolation to the family and friends of Paulius.

“This is another young life lost to a senseless scourge of knife crime and the loss will never leave those affected.”

Kurpis will be sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on Friday, December 9.