Grandmother of nine-year-old Lincolnshire stabbing victim set fire to hotel with relatives inside

Inga Papstaitiene, pictured with Lilia Valutyte
Inga Papstaitiene, pictured with Lilia Valutyte

The grandmother of Lilia Valutyte, the nine-year-old who was stabbed to death on a Lincolnshire street a month ago on Sunday, set fire to a hotel with her newly-married daughter and other members of her own family inside, it has emerged.

Inga Papstaitiene started the blaze as part of a bitter dispute with Lina Savicke, her daughter, and Aurelijus Savickas, her son-in-law. She was found guilty of arson and sentenced to eight years in prison by a court in Lithuania in June.

The sentencing of the 55-year-old came just three months before her granddaughter bled to death on Fountain Lane in Boston on July 28 after being attacked by a man with a knife as she played hula hoop with her younger sister.

Her body was found moments later by her mother, who had been working in a nearby cafe and was alerted by the screams of her younger daughter.

Deividas Skebas, a 22-year-old fruit picker originally from a village close to the north-eastern Lithuanian city of Utena, has been charged with Lilia’s murder.

Lilia Valutyte, who was stabbed on Fountain Lane in Boston - Lincolnshire Police/PA
Lilia Valutyte, who was stabbed on Fountain Lane in Boston – Lincolnshire Police/PA

A friend of Ms Savicke, who worked with her in Boston, told The Telegraph: “Lina’s parents didn’t approve of the wedding to Aurelijus. Her own mother tried to kill Lina and her family. It was awful. And then to have your child killed in front of you … it’s impossible to believe. She has suffered so much.”

The first tragedy struck Lilia’s family as her grandmother and great-grandmother rowed with her father, 32-year-old Mr Savickas, during his wedding to Lilia’s mother near the western Lithuanian city of Telsiai in September 2019.

That evening, Papstaitiene was accused of trying to set fire to the building where 11 people – including her mother, daughter, and granddaughter – were sleeping on the second floor.

The court heard that she deliberately placed a cardboard box filled with glass containers and plastic waste on the gas stove, turned on the taps and lit the items, starting a fire in the first floor kitchen. Everyone inside the building escaped unhurt.

Papstaitiene, who denies arson and accuses her 36-year-old daughter of vindictive and false claims against her, is planning to appeal against the sentence.

She told the Lithuanian Delfi Plius newspaper: “Lina’s wedding took place that evening. My son-in-law attacked me because of a complete misunderstanding. My mother then drank a little too much and arguments began.

“All the guests stayed there all night. Then the swearing started between us because they behaved badly with my mother. She had drunk too much, they didn’t like something and it started.”

Papstaitiene accused her daughter and her husband of attacking her, adding: “I remember they were dragging me on the ground, twisting my arms, and others were just laughing watching all this. They dragged me, the tendon of my arm broke. Then I ran to the fields.”

As part of her sentence Papstaitiene, who is on bail but barred from leaving the country pending the conclusion of her appeal, was also ordered to pay €13,000 in compensation.

It is understood that following the fire Papstaitiene paid €500 to the owner of the venue, who did not report the incident. Police launched an investigation after Ms Savicke reported the matter. Papstaitiene is due to appeal against the sentence at a hearing on Sep 22.

Lilia’s family are now fundraising to erect a statue in the girl’s memory. Ms Savicke said: “Lilia grew up in that street, every week she spent down there playing, and it happened next to the window.

“The memorial is a way for her to still be there, and we’re now fundraising to get it. You find yourself looking for her everywhere. We had four corners, and now one is gone.”

Published by anthonyhayble

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