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Home   Maidstone   News   Article

Tenth man arrested after Italian man Joele Leotta's death in Maidstone released on bail - as four Lithuanians face court charged with murder

25 October 2013
by Anna Young
Joele Leotta

Joele Leotta suffered multiple injuries at a Maidstone flat

A tenth man arrested in connection with the murder inquiry into the death of an Italian man in Maidstone has been released on bail.

The 30-year-old, from Maidstone, has been bailed until December 12.

It comes after four others appeared in court yesterday accused of the murder of 20-year-old Joele Leotta, who was fatally injured at a flat in the town on Sunday night.

Lithuanians Aleksandras Zuravliovas, 26, of Beaumont Road; Tomas Gelezinis, 30, of Lower Stone Street; Saulius Tamoliunas, 23, of Union Street; and 21-year-old Linas Zidonis, of no fixed address, face the same murder charge.

They have also all been charged with causing grievous bodily harm in connection with an assault on a second victim - Mr Leotta's best friend Alex Galbiati, who was taken to hospital but is believed to be recovering.

The four men appeared via video link at Medway Magistrates' Court. They spoke online to confirm their identities and were remanded in custody.

The accused will next appear via video link at Maidstone Crown Court on Monday.

Mr Leotta is understood to have only arrived in Maidstone with Mr Galbiati to learn English 10 days before his death.

He worked as a waiter at Vesuvius Italian restaurant - below a flat in Lower Stone Street, where he was fatally wounded in a reported assault.

A policeman stands outside the flat above Vesuvius Italian restaurant in Maidstone

A policeman stands outside the flat above Vesuvius Italian restaurant

Just days before his death, Mr Leotta told his Facebook friends he wanted to settle in the UK and describing life as perfect.

He wrote: "I have found work in an Italian restaurant, people from Naples, and now I've started to make friends. Really everything is going swimmingly!"

But three days after posting the uplifting message he was fatally injured when he and Alex were assaulted above his work place.

"My son was not the sort to go looking for trouble and had only just arrived. He hadn't had time to make any enemies..." - Ivan Leotta

According to sources, Mr Galbiati - who is recovering from his wounds - had the devastating task of calling Mr Leotta's parents to break the news.

His grief-stricken mother and father and 15-year-old brother made the heartbreaking journey to where their eldest son was killed.

His father Ivan Leotta was quoted in Italian newspapers saying: "All I know is that my son is dead. I don't know anything of the motive.

"We are all so shocked by what has happened. He was so happy to be in England. We can't bring ourselves to think about it. We just want to know what happened.

"My son was not the sort to go looking for trouble and had only just arrived. He hadn't had time to make any enemies."

Joele Leotta's childhood friend Alex Galbiati Picture Casate Online

Alex Galbiati, Joele Leotta's childhood friend. Picture: Casate Online

A total of 10 men have been arrested in connection with Mr Leotta's death. Revealing just one of them is British, a police spokesman confirmed detectives are not treating the attack as racially-motivated.

Earlier, a 23-year-old man, from Maidstone, arrested on suspicion of murder was released on bail until December 12.

Another suspect, a 45-year-old man from Tonbridge, is also on bail pending further inquiries until December 16.

A 21-year-old has also been bailed and a 30-year-old and 28-year-old have been released without charge.

Scroll down for video 

Forensics officers at the crime scene in Lower Stone Street

Forensics officers at the crime scene in Lower Stone Street

Seven men were held on Sunday night after officers were called to reports of an assault at a flat above the restaurant.

Mr Leotta was taken to hospital, but later died from what are believed to have been head and chest injuries.

His family have travelled to Kent from their Italian home - in Lecco, Lombardy - to formally identify his body. 

An eighth man was arrested on Monday night and a ninth on Tuesday night.

A 30-year-old man was also arrested on Wednesday in connection with the incident, becoming the 10th suspect to be held.

Teenager Joele Leotta died after an assault in Maidstone

Tragic Joele Leotta had only just arrived in Kent

The air ambulance was called to the scene when it was initially believed the victim had fallen down stairs.
 
Police said the teenager was taken to King's College Hospital in London, but could not be saved.
 
Another two people were taken to hospital - one to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury with neck, head and back injuries.
 
A stretch of the road was closed while officers investigated and a forensic tent was set up outside the property.
 
Officers were seen combing through nearby bins, yards that border the flats and drains in their hunt for clues or evidence. 
 
Police search a commercial bin near the scene

Police search a commercial bin near the scene

Police carry out a search of the area following the teenager's death

Police carry out a search of the area following the teenager's death

 
Police had closed a lane between Palace Avenue and Bishop's Way for investigation work.
 
Both roads form the A229 and are part of the Maidstone one-way system and the closure left gridlock around the town during the Monday morning rush hour.
 
The area around the murder investigation scene was still cordoned off by police the following day. 
 
 
Police scour the scene after man dies in Maidstone assault
 
Witnesses spoke of their shock at waking up close to a murder investigation scene.
 
Adam Grove, 28, of Upper Stone Street, said: "It's mad to think this has happened right down the road. I walk past here every day. I think it's mainly foreigners who live there." 

Mike Reed, branch manager at DriveLink driver agency in Lower Stone Street, said: "We saw the white tent outside the premises and there were several police officers, probably a dozen or so, in the area.

"I spoke to a couple of the officers and looked through our bin as well. I'm very surprised this has happened."

The murder scene in Lower Stone Street, Maidstone

The crime scene in Lower Stone Street, Maidstone

A section of the road was closed

A section of the road was closed


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