Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Jury shown photos of severed head

Jolanta Bledaite
Two young sisters found Jolanta Bledaite's head on a beach

A jury has been shown photographs of a severed head which was found on a beach in Arbroath.

Lithuanian Vitas Plytnykas, 41, denies torturing and murdering Jolanta Bledaite, 35, and has lodged a special defence of alibi and incrimination.

The head of Ms Bledaite was found by two young sisters on 1 April last year.

At an earlier court appearance, Aleksandras Skirda, who is also from Lithuania, pleaded guilty to murdering farm worker Ms Bledaite in Angus.

Skirda also admitted throwing a suitcase containing her body into Arbroath harbour and withdrawing 1,400 using stolen bank cards.

The trial of Mr Plytnykas is taking place at the High Court in Edinburgh.

We saw through a rip in that bag that there were fingers
Pc Lynsey Bovill

The jury was shown photographs of the severed head lying on the beach wrapped in a black rubbish bag.

The court heard how Pc Lynsey Bovill went to South Street beach on 1 April after a mother told police her two daughters had found the head.

Pc Bovill, 29, said: "There was a black bin liner and inside was a Lidl carrier bag."

"There was a small tear about an inch wide where I could see flesh."

Her attention was also drawn by a colleague to another bag on the beach.

"We saw through a rip in that bag that there were fingers," she said.

The pictures shown in court revealed part of a woman's head, the features obscured by tangled brown hair falling over her face.

Parts of her face appeared to show marks of injuries.

Sharing flat

Philip Brown, 58, who described himself as area manager for an agency supplying farm workers, said police showed him pictures of the gruesome find.

He realised the dead woman was one of his migrant workers from Lithuania.

Mr Brown said Ms Bledaite was "very reliable" and it was out of character when she failed to show up for work.

He told the trial that Skirda told him Ms Bledaite had run away with "some Polish people".

She had been sharing a flat in South Esk Street, Brechin, with Skirda and two Poles, the court heard.

Mr Plytnykas claims he was at or near his home in Hillview, Brechin, when Jolanta died on 29 March last year and that Skirda alone was to blame for her death.

The trial before Lord Pentland and a jury of ten women and five men is expected to last until the middle of next week.

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