A local shop assistant gives a key piece of evidence to a murder investigation, when he tells how the murderer told him about his wife’s death while buying alcohol.
When Kestutis Bauzys, 48, from Lithuania, went to his local corner shop to buy booze for him and his friends, he told the shop assistant that his wife was at home and she wasn’t breathing.
But he went on to buy alcohol, and only called the emergency services half an hour later, attempting to claim that Dzilva Butiene, 48, was dying while on the phone.
This, along with the extent of Butiene’s horrific injuries, were revealed on Channel 4’s 24 Hours in Police Custody.
Kestutis Bauzys, 48, claimed his girlfriend had died having fallen over when she was drunk. But a post-mortum revealed her injuries were much more severe than that, and consistant with a trauma
The Channel 4 programme, which airs tonight, follows the investigation into the murder of Butiene, 48, who was killed at her home in Wisbech in April 2017.
Cambridgeshire’s major crime unit launched an investigation into her death after a pathologist raised concerns around the circumstances.
Police were called at 8.30pm by three men in a flat in Orange Grove, Wisbech, who said that Butiene, 48, had been drinking, fallen over and died.
But suspicions were raised by the ambulance service who said that it appeared Butiene had died a while before the phone call was made.
CCTV and witness evidence showed that Bauzys had visited a corner shop half an hour before he placed the call to the emergency services but that he revealed his girlfriend was already dead
When police arrived at the flat, it appeared she had been dead for a longer period of time, with injuries to her face and chest consistent with somebody kneeing or standing on it.
The three men who were in the flat stumbled around, seemingly finding it hard to answer police questions, with Bauzys wondering in and out of the room where the body of his girlfriend of four years was.
When DS Graham McMillan, who has dealt with over 200 murders during his career, is sent photos of the dead woman, they immediately raise suspicions.
He says: ‘You do get a hunch just through experience, something isn’t right… I’ve looked at the photos that were taken of the lady in situ and what concerns me, is some of the bruising around the chest and the neck area.’
Dzilva Butiene, 48, had been with her boyfriend for four years. He was later found guilty of her murder
And later, the post mortem showed that the woman had died as a result of a trauma to the abdomen that caused her liver to lacerate in two places.
Police said the injury was consistent ‘with an assault, fall from a first floor building or high speed collision where a victim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt’.
A man hunt was launched for Butiene’s boyfriend of four years, who had turned off his mobile phone and appeared to be in hiding. He was found sleeping in a tent in the woods outside of Wisbech.
Enquiries by the unit revealed Bauzys had visited a nearby shop about 30 minutes before the ambulance was called.
Police discovered Bauzys sleeping in a tent in the woods outside Wisbech, where he was arrested for his girlfriend’s murder
Butiene had moved from Lithuiana to be with her boyfriend, but was about to return to the country for treatment for her alcoholism
CCTV showed Bauzys entering a corner shop, and speaking to a shop assistant.
When the shop assistant was called in by police, he told how the Lithuanian was ‘absolutely white, transparent.’
He went on that while he was paying: ‘He said to me, he thinks his wife, something might have happened because she doesn’t move.
He revealed that Bauzys had told him: ‘”She might be dead”. So I asked him so what, doesn’t she breathe?’
Police investigating the crime were puzzled by the post-mortem, which revealed a traumatic injury to Butiene’s stomach which was inconsistent with her boyfriend’s version of events
‘And then he said, “I don’t know I checked her pulse”. I just told him, he’s got to call an ambulance if he thinks so.
‘Then he bought some alcohol and he left the shop.’
It was half an hour later that Bauzys called an ambulance and told emergency services that his partner had fallen and was dying.
In interviews Bauzys claimed Butiene had died as a result of a fall and that he was not responsible for her death.
DI Alan Page called it ‘a horrendous case of domestic abuse behind closed doors’ and said ‘thankfully the medical evidence showed her injuries were consistent with an assault, fall from a first floor building or high speed collision where a victim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt’
One detective questioning the Lithuianian asked him: ‘Do you understand how horrific this is that you would leave her dying in the flat while you went to buy alcohol?’
And police later discovered more evidence which seemed to suggest that she was a domestic violence victim.
They found X-rays hidden on a CD-Rom which showed she’d had several broken ribs months earlier.
Bauzys was later charged with her murder and in October 2017 he was found guilty of murder at Cambridge Crown Court and was sentenced to life, to serve a minimum of 17 and a half years.
Kestutis Bauzys’ conviction
Kestutis Bauzys, 48, was found guilty of the murder of his long-term girlfriend at Cambridge Crown Court on 17 October 2017 following a three week trial.
Dzilva Butiene, 48, was staying with boyfriend-of-four-years, Bauzys, in Debnam Court, Orange Grove, Wisbech on 5 April 2017 when she was murdered.
The ambulance service raised their concerns with police after discovering Mrs Butiene had died some time before they were called at 8.30pm and had fresh bruises on her lip and other bruises to her face and arms.
Bauzys consistently told paramedics the injuries were caused because the mother-of-two was an alcoholic and had fallen.
Further investigation revealed Bauzys had visited a nearby shop at about 8pm to buy alcohol and when paying mentioned to the shop assistant that his wife was not breathing.
He also spoke to a member of the public and asked her to call an ambulance but the woman didn’t speak English and called her son to help.
A post mortem carried out by Dr Nat Cary concluded Mrs Butiene died of a trauma to the abdomen that had caused a laceration to her liver in two places.
Bauzys was arrested after he was found sleeping in a tent in woods just outside Wisbech on the A47 on 13 April.
Detective Inspector Alan Page, from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: ‘This was a horrendous case of domestic abuse behind closed doors. Bauzys consistently lied claiming Mrs Butiene had caused her injuries herself from falling over.
‘The expert medical evidence stated that these type of injuries would be seen either from a forceful assault, a fall from a first floor building or a high speed road collision where the victim wasn’t wearing a seatbelt.
‘We established that Mrs Butiene had not left the flat and that Bauzys had been the only person in her company at the time she would have received the fatal injury.
‘In this case officers had not received any previous reports of domestic abuse. We would urge anyone who finds themselves in an abusive relationship, please find the courage to tell someone. You don’t have to come direct to police but it’s not acceptable to live with abuse.’
In a statement Mrs Butiene’s family said: ‘Dzilva’s death has left utter devastation to all her friends and family here in Lithuania, including her two sons. We have all been affected by her death and remain to take each day at a time.’
Bauzys was sentenced to life in prison in 2017, and a minimum of 17-and-a-half years.
Source: Cambrideshire police