A MAN is today facing life behind bars after being found guilty of the brutal murder of a Southampton man whose body was then torched in a ferocious car blaze.
Arben Lleshi, 27, was found guilty of killing Agim Hoxha by jurors after more than nine and a half hours of deliberations at Winchester Crown Court.
His co accused, fellow Albanian Afrim Lleshi, 36, was cleared of playing any part in the killing but also faces many years behind bars after admitting he helped dispose of the body from a flat where he had been batted to death with a wrecking bar.
Jurors have spent the past seven weeks hearing evidence about the murder of Agim, who was a well off drug dealer living in Southampton who supplied cocaine to white collar workers in Hampshire. He made tens of thousands of pounds plying his trade, a "business" he started with his brother after moving to the city in his teenage years.
He was killed inside flat 285 Shirley Road, which had been rented by Arben just hours earlier on April 9 last year.
The court heard how earlier that day he he had gone shopping for a crow bar, which was then thought to have been used to deliver a fatal blow to Agim's head, cable ties to wrap his limbs, masking tape to cover his mouth and stop him screaming for help and a can of petrol to set the silver Mercedes coupe alight with the body inside.
The court has heard how Afrim had spent the early part of the evening in a casino but returned home to his flat next door at 283 Shirley Road before going next door to help carry Agim's body, wrapped in a duvet and with a plastic bag over his head, down a flight of stairs.
Both Arben, of Onslow Road, and Afrim, of Shirley Road, had denied the murder. Afrim admitted perverting the course of justice on the first day of his trial however Arben had denied that charge but was convicted by jurors today.
The men are due to be sentenced later today.
Agim Hoxha Murder Trial - full background