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Man, 42, denies stalking Ipswich couple and setting fire to wheelie bin outside their home

PUBLISHED: 19:00 02 January 2018

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Ipswich Crown Court. Picture: GREGG BROWN

An Ipswich couple who put a roof over the head of an old friend had their kindness “thrown back into their faces” when he started stalking them and started a fire in a wheelie bin outside their home, it has been alleged.

Tania and Genci Bytyci, of Pine View Road, Ipswich, had initially allowed Astrit Mala to stay with them for a few days while he “sorted himself out”, but he ended up staying several months, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

By February last year Mala was living elsewhere, but he started visiting the couple’s home to use their internet and other facilities, said Karl Voltz, prosecuting.

Mala allegedly started pestering the couple by visiting them and hanging around outside their home three or four times a week and Mr and Mrs Bytyci became increasingly uncomfortable.

“The defendant wanted coffee and chats and wanted to be part of their lives and they weren’t prepared for that,” said Mr Voltz.

In May last year there was a doorstep argument and the police were called after Mala became aggressive.

Mala allegedly continued to turn up on the couple’s doorstep and loiter near their home and in early July he turned up at their house at midnight and was told to go away and not to come back.

On July 4 he allegedly visited the house again and the police were called after he became aggressive, and two days later he allegedly told a mutual friend he wanted to kill the couple and that he was serious.

On July 8 Mrs Bytyci found two broken mobile phones that she and her husband had bought for Mala on the doorstep, said Mr Voltz.

Later that evening while they were out they were contacted by a neighbour who had seen someone setting light to their wheelie bin which had been moved next to Mr Bytyci’s van which contained a generator and fuel.

A hat belonging to Mala was allegedly found at the scene of the fire, said Mr Voltz

Mala, 42, of no fixed address, has denied stalking Mr and Mrs Bytyci, arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered and an alternative charge of damaging a wheelie bin by fire.

The trial continues tomorrow.

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