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Maidstone police officers battled to revive Italian waiter Joele Leotta at Vesuvius restaurant in Lower Stone Street.

By Anna Young

Police officers battled to revive Italian waiter Joele Leotta as he lay in a "pool of blood", a court heard.

PC Keith Roostan and PC Jessica Middleton were heading to Shamrat Indian restaurant, in Lower Stone Street, on Sunday, November 20, last year when they were alerted to reports of an attack just a few doors away.

Speaking at Maidstone Crown Court this week, PC Roostan said he discovered Mr Leotta and his childhood friend Alex Galbiati, both 20, lying in a doorway next to Vesuvius restaurant.

Joele Leotta

The victims, who had arrived in the country just six days earlier, were living in a bedsit above the eatery where they had secured work.

Members of the jury have heard Mr Galbiati and Mr Leotta, from Lecco in Italy, were beaten in their room by a group of men.

Aleksandras Zuravliovas, 26, of Beaumont Road; Tomas Gelezinis, 31, of Lower Stone Street; Saulius Tamoliunas, 24, of Union Street; and 21-year-old Linas Zidonis, of no fixed address, deny murder and wounding Mr Galbiati with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

After arriving at the scene, PC Middleton provided first aid to Mr Galbiati and defendant Zuravliovas, who were both sitting on the pavement outside the Italian restaurant.

Police investigate the scene in Lower Stone Street

She was then called to the doorway leading upstairs to the bedsits, where Mr Leotta was unconscious.

PC Middleton told the court: “There was blood everywhere. What I remember most is a pool of blood under his head.”

PC Middleton and another colleague, PC Rachael Bryant, began CPR after failing to find a pulse. They continued to provide treatment until paramedics and a medically trained officer, PC James Arnold, arrived and took over.

PC Middleton searched the property, including the Italians’ room. She said: “There was blood and broken and overturned furniture. There were massive holes in the wall.”

Mr Leotta had suffered 100 injures and died hours later in hospital.

It took officers around 15 minutes to discover the fatal attack was unfolding just yards away from Maidstone Police Station.

Mr Galbiati, who has given evidence at the trial, called 999 at 11.13pm, 11.14pm and 11.19pm but struggled to speak English.

PC Roostan was first to arrive at the scene at 11.30pm.

Alex Galbiati, a childhood friend of Joele Leotta, was wounded in the attack

DI Ivan Beasley said: “From the first call that was made, the police operator and others working behind the scenes were trying to establish where the caller was in order to send the appropriate help or assistance.

“This included a three-way conversation with an interpreter and also trying to locate the mobile phone location through GPS.”

Jurors have also heard this week how another tenant at the bedsits hid in a cupboard for two days after police sealed off the suspected murder scene.

Sebastian Gieras, who lived on the same floor as Joele Leotta and Alex Galbiati, told the court he was cleaning the bathroom on the night of the incident when he saw a group of men outside the Italians’ door.

He said one of them was carrying a butter knife and asked him who lived in the room but Mr Gieras told the man he didn't know and returned to his room.

The court heard Mr Gieras was in the cupboard when his brother, Artur, was arrested.

The witness was wanted by police for a bail warrant which was later withdrawn.

He was discovered and arrested by officers on Tuesday, October 22. Sebastian and Artur Gieras were later ruled out of the investigation.

Amrat Gohil owns the bedsit in Lower Stone Street, Maidstone, where Joele Leotta was fatally injured.

Landlord Amrat Gohil gave evidence at the trial on Tuesday. He told jurors he confronted tenants at his property in Lower Stone Street after receiving a complaint about noise.

Mr Gohil said he paid a lunchtime visit to the bedsits above Vesuvius on Saturday, October 19, last year –the day before the fatal incident – and switched off loud music playing in one of the attic rooms where Gelezinis lived.

He called 999 when another tenant, known as Monkey, began to “shout at him” before leaving the property.

The prosecution claims the four defendants attacked the two Italians because they believed they were responsible for the complaint, but it was actually another tenant who lodged the grievance.

The trial continues.

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