Court sentences blaze murderer to 17-and-a-half years in jail

Eduard Kask at the hearing at Tartu County Court. Photographers and camera crews are often permitted in the courtroom at Estonian hearings.
Eduard Kask at the hearing at Tartu County Court. Photographers and camera crews are often permitted in the courtroom at Estonian hearings. Source: ERR

A man found guilty of murdering a minor in an arson attack last year has been jailed for 17 years and six months.

Tartu County Court sentenced Eduard Kask, 22, to jail for the murder on Tuesday. Kaske's sentence runs from his initial detention on June 30 2019, and applies to other offences he has been found guilty of including a death threat against a police officer.

Kask reportedly knew his 16-year-old victim and the latter owed him money.

In the small hours of June 30 2019, Kask drove to Kükitaja village near Tartu to a house where the victim was staying, setting it alight, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, quoting BNS.

The victim was trapped on the second floor of the house and died in the fire.

Maarja-Liisa Kõiv, assistant prosecutor at the prosecutor's office southern district, said Kask is indifferent to human life, property and law.

"Unfortunately, we can no longer ask the [victim] what exactly led to such a tragic event or bring him back in any way," Kõiv said.

"However, our goal was to find out what happened in the events leading up to the murder. Based on the research, we can say that such violence and disregard for others with regard to property and health, he was strongly rooted in the behavior of the accused, "said Kõiv.

The prosecutor's office sent the case to the courts last December, charging him with murder, serious misconduct, physical abuse, theft, and death threats and threats of violence made against a police officer.

Rain Vosman, head of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) Southern Prefecture's organized and serious crime division, said the PPA identified several crimes by the same man. 

"The investigation revealed that almost a week before the incident, the accused punched the same victim twice. In February this year, he punched a 61-year-old man in a shopping center in Tartu, thus committing a serious public order offense. He also threatened to injure and kill the police officer who brought him to a detention center in Tartu in June this year," Vosman said.

"In 2017, he punched a 15-year-old girl in the face. He also systematically stole alcohol from a store," he went on. The sentence reflects a conviction for these crimes too.

Kask has also been imprisoned in the past on several occasions.

The criminal case was investigated by the Southern Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board and the investigation was led by the Southern District Prosecutor's Office.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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