Thursday, April 1, 1999 Published at 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Life for war criminal
Sawoniuk: Under Scotland Yard investigation since 1994
Anthony Sawoniuk, a 78-year-old former railway worker, has been sentenced to life after being found guilty of murdering two Jews in the UK's first full Nazi war crimes trial.
The judge said he had been convicted on "clear evidence".
After several more hours of deliberations, they found him guilty by a majority verdict of 10 to one on a second charge of murdering another unnamed Jewish woman.
During sentencing, Sawoniuk, who is very frail and hard of hearing, showed little reaction and simply shook his head slightly. Mr Justice Potts had asked him to come forward from where he was sitting at the back of the court so he could hear the sentence.
The judge told him: "I want to say this to you. No words of mine can add anything of value to those words already written and spoken about the events in which you played a part.
Both charges related to incidents when Sawoniuk was accused of murdering a number of Jews. But English law does not allow the charging of more than one person on one count.
Harrowing eyewitness evidence
The Old Bailey jury had heard harrowing evidence from eye-witnesses. One man said he was forced to watch Sawoniuk command three Jews - two men and a woman - to strip beside an open grave.
He then shot them in the head and pushed their bodies into the grave with his knee. The witness, Alexander Baglay, who was 13 at the time was then forced to cover the pit with earth.
On the second count of murder, Fedor Zan said he saw Sawoniuk mow down 15 Jews with a submachine gun and push their bodies into an open grave.
Sawoniuk is expected to serve his sentence either in a prison hospital or a special unit for elderly prisoners set up at Kingston, Portsmouth.
The retired British Rail worker protested his innocence throughout the eight-week trial. He was originally subject to four charges of killing Jews in the village of Domachevo in Nazi-occupied Belarus.
Two charges of murdering Jewish men were dropped by the judge because of flaws in the evidence.
Sawoniuk, who came to the UK after the war, was denied bail and was remanded in custody in a prison hospital during the trial. The judge told the jury to disregard this fact, and warned them not to reach an "emotional verdict".
But Sawoniuk said his conscience was clear.
"I killed no one. I would not dream of doing it. I am not a monster - I am an ordinary working class poor man," he said.
'Everyone telling lies'
He claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy and said prosecution witnesses from his hometown of Domachevo had come to the UK to tell lies about him on the orders of the KGB.
"Everyone is telling lies. These devils came here with their lies against me," he said.
Sawoniuk said he had fought partisans while in the police force in Domachevo, but denied any Jews were killed by the police.
Prosecution witness Fedor Zan, 75, took the jurors to a forest near the village where he recalled seeing Sawoniuk murder a group of women.
The trial created a number of legal precedents:
Sawoniuk first came to the attention of UK war crimes investigators in 1988 when his name was on a list of potential suspects handed to UK authorities by the Soviet Government.
He was one of 376 suspects investigated under the 1991 War Crimes Act.
But it was not until 1994 that Scotland Yard began an inquiry into his wartime activities. He was first interviewed by police in April 1996 and was charged in September 1997.
The defence are expected to appeal against the conviction.