60-year-old Jonathan Stasiuk, the man accused of murdering former Isle of Wight councillor Gerry White, used a chainsaw to attack him before strangling and smothering him to death when it ran out of petrol, Southampton Crown Court has heard this week.
As first reported by Island Echo, Police were called to a 16-acre community garden on the outskirts of Lake on 27th May this year. It is here that officers found the body of 73-year-old Gerald White in amongst woodland off the Byway SS18. Mr White was a former county councillor, a parish councillor and landlord of The Stag at Lake.
It can now be revealed that Police were alerted to the incident when Mr Stasiuk called 999 and made a confession to the call handler, which sparked a large number of officers to descend on the area that Bank Holiday afternoon. The court has heard that Stasiuk told Police “I’ve just murdered someone. He’s called Gerry White and I’ve just done him”. He then told the operator where to find Mr White’s body.
The trial against Stasiuk – the first murder trial to be held at Southampton Crown Court – got underway yesterday (Monday) when prosecutor Matthew Jewell QC laid out the facts of the case. The jury heard how Gerry White and Jonathan Stasiuk, a chef, were involved in a ‘festering dispute’ over money and that Stasiuk had an ‘entrenched hatred’ for White. Both were trustees of the garden and this played a role in the dispute, with arguments for a number of reasons including the dumping of rubbish at the garden.
At around 16:30 on 27th May, both men were at Lake Community Gardens with White having arrived only a few minutes earlier. It is here that Stasiuk is alleged to have armed himself with a chainsaw before attacking Mr White, resulting in cuts to his legs. When the chainsaw ran out of petrol Jonathan is said to have ‘lost the plot’ before going on to strangle and smother Gerry White whilst shouting ‘die bastard, die’.
Home Office Pathologist Dr Basil Purdue concluded in a post mortem that Gerry White suffered severe injuries to his neck by means of strangulation, as well as sustaining cuts to his legs.
The court heard yesterday how just days before Mr White was killed, Stasiuk, of Pier Street in Sandown, had mentioned to friends that he was going ‘to war’ and referenced the use of a chainsaw.
After his arrest, Stasiuk gave a full account of what happened over the course of 6 interviews with detectives.
Jonathan Stasiuk denies murder but admits manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He is being represented by Jo Martin QC.
The trial, which is being presided over by His Honour Judge Christopher Parked QC, continues.