HE’S framed me. That’s what murder accused Afrim Lleshi told police when he was arrested and quizzed over the killing of a man whose body was discovered in a burnt-out car.
The 36-year-old plasterer said he had been set up by his coaccused Arben Lleshi when told by officers he had “fled” to Albania in the days after the murder of Agim Hoxha.
Jurors at Winchester Crown Court heard how Afrim was held and interviewed over a number of days by detectives to whom he said: “I haven’t committed a murder, one hundred per cent”.
The father-of-one told them: “I don’t know nothing about a murder. And I don’t know what Arben’s been up to but this has all happened to me. I wouldn’t harm the little things in the world. Not human being. But I don’t know if he’s done it or not.”
The court heard how he went on to say “I feel like I’m the victim really. Whatever Arben has done it’s not my fault.”
Afrim told howhe had met Mr Hoxha in a Southampton nightclub three or four months earlier and had on one occasion bought cocaine from him.
He described the 29-year-old, whose charred remains were found in his burnt-out Mercedes in Chilworth Drove on the morning of April 10 last year, as “a very good boy” who was smartly dressed, had a lot of friends and never ‘slagged anybody off’.
Afrim told police how Arben, known as Ben, had lived with Agim around four years earlier.
On the night of the alleged killing, Afrim said he had been at a casino and returned to find Arben, who was renting a property next door in Shirley Road, had taken a Chinese souvenir knife from his home.
He returned it in the early hours of April 10 when he called at Afrim’s home, handed him £1,500 he owed him and left in a taxi.
Afrim Lleshi and Arben Lleshi, 25, both deny murder.
Arben denies a second charge of perverting the course of justice – a charge which Afrim has admitted.