ALLEGED murderer Afrim Lleshi told how fears for his son’s safety stopped him from going to the police after he helped dispose of the body of a Southampton drug dealer.
Afrim denies the murder of Agim Hoxha, 29, whose body was found in a burned out Mercedes at Chilworth Drove, Chilworth, near Southampton, in April 2012.
Afrim told jurors at Winchester Crown Court yesterday that co-accused Arben Lleshi had called on him on the evening of April 9 last year and confessed to killing Mr Hoxha, saying: “I didn’t mean to kill him; it was an accident.”
The body was in the flat next door to Afrim’s in Shirley Road, Shirley. Afrim told how he went and saw Mr Hoxha wrapped in material and with a black plastic bag over his head.
Afrim said he helped Arben load the body into a car before Arben drove away.
Afrim, who has an eight-year-old son, said: “I had never been in this situation before in my life. I was scared to phone the police. I didn’t call the police and get my family into trouble. Arben Lleshi would kill my family for grassing him up.”
Asked why he did not tell the police about helping to get rid of the body, Afrim said: “His lot (Mr Hoxha’s) might not understand what had happened and might hurt my little boy.”
He told the jury that Arben returned later that evening with a Tesco carrier bag full of £30,000 in cash and two kilogrammes of cocaine valued at £100,000 which he said he had taken from Mr Hoxha. He gave Afrim £3,500.
Timothy Mousley QC, defending Arben, in cross-examination accused Afrim of telling “lie after lie after lie” to shift the blame for the murder and “stitch up” Arben “to make it look like he did the killing”. Afrim denied the allegation.
Mr Mousley asked why Afrim had not mentioned in court the claim in his defence case statement that Arben had told him he had planned the murder with a man named Altin. “I didn’t have a chance,” said Afrim.
Prosecutors allege that both Arben and Afrim plotted together to kill Mr Hoxha, of Cranbury Place, Southampton. Arben, 27, of Onslow Road, Southampton, and Afrim, 36, of Shirley Road, Southampton, deny murder.
Arben also denies perverting the course of justice, a charge which Afrim admits.