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Prosecutors today dropped a murder charge against the husband of a mother of five who was found drowned in a lake.
Andrius Vengalis, 46, was charged with killing Lithuanian-born Egle Vengaliene, 35, by keeping her underwater in Brandon Country Park, Suffolk, in April last year.
A court heard that a witness had initially told police how he had seen Mr. Vengalis, who lived near the 30-acre park with his wife, “pumping up and down” on Ms. Vengaliene in the water.
Later, the witness clarified her account and said that he believed he saw Mr. Vengalis attempt to resuscitate her after taking her out of the lake.
One judge said prosecutors were faced with “alternative scenarios”: that Mr. Vengelis “strangled and submerged her wife” or was “trying to save her.”
But an autopsy, reviewed by two pathologists, could not determine whether Ms. Vengaliene was illegally murdered, she had taken her own life, or whether her death was accidental.
He also said that there was material suggesting that Ms Vengaliene may have had undiagnosed mental health problems.
Today in Ipswich Crown Court, prosecutors offered no evidence in the case and Judge Martyn Levett entered a not guilty verdict.
He said that Mr. Vengalis, who lived with his wife in Brandon, could now be released.
Mr. Vengalis is believed to have been detained for some nine months, since his arrest last April.
The court heard that a Royal Mail parcel delivery driver spotted Ms Vengaliene walking into the woods in Brandon Country Park at 3.30am on April 9 last year.
Judge Levett said: “She walked in and then came back out without attracting attention.
She ‘she It was dark and she did not have a flashlight to illuminate her path: she did not ask for help, she was wearing a striped shirt, but there was nothing in her behavior that would have caused concern except for the time of day.
Cautiously, the truck driver turned to check on her well-being, but they couldn’t find her.
“There was no sound, no light, no screaming or cracking noise as the truck driver searched for her.”
Two hours later, at 5.15am. M., Sanitation workers at the Lakeview Brandon Park nursing home saw Ms. Vengaliene knock on the window.
Judge Levett added: “ She was not hurt, she was smiling, she waved, but she looked cold and clammy.
Judge Levett said that a first post-mortem examination
“She spoke the words ‘Help me’, but due to Covid restrictions she was not allowed to take refuge in the house.”
The court heard how care workers from her home saw her again at 5.45am and spoke to her, but she refused her help.
The staff decided to call the police who searched the area and could not find her.
A member of the public was walking around the lake at 7 a.m. the same day when he heard screams, possibly from a man.
Judge Levett said: “He saw in the distance a man pumping up and down in the water.
Her account became clearer later and indicated that, as far as she could see, he was a man performing CPR on a lady in the water.
“Later he said that he thought the defendant was pulling the woman out of the water and doing CPR compressions. His death was certified at 7.42 a.m. M. “.
Judge Levett said that a first post-mortem examination could not identify the cause of death, but a pathologist later said that Ms. Vengaliene had drowned.
He added: “This first opinion formed the basis of the prosecution’s case, which therefore presented himself as Mr. Vangelis as a defendant, was seen trying to submerge and drown his wife.”
“The member of the public’s eyewitness account neutralized that accusation to suggest an alternative proposition that the defendant was pulling her wife out of the lake and performing CPR on her chest when he was submerged in water up to her thighs. .
“There were alternative scenarios: either Mr. Vangelis acted illegally by strangling and submerging his wife causing her death by drowning or Mr. Vangelis acting as the Good Samaritan, rescuing and trying to save the life of his wife” .
Judge Levett said criminal cases were based on evidence and that prosecutions failed when there was insufficient evidence to prove a case.
He said the post-mortem evidence had been considered by two pathologists and neither report had provided a real answer to the accusation about any illegal act committed by the defendant.
Edmund Burge QC, the prosecutor, told the court that the decision
Judge Levett added that there was unused material in the case that could suggest some undiagnosed mental health problems.
He said Vengalis, who lived with his wife in Brandon, could now be released from custody.
Edmund Burge QC, the prosecutor, told the court that the decision not to offer evidence had been made after a thorough review of the case.
He said: “The police have conducted all reasonable lines of investigation and the conclusion was that there is no realistic prospect of conviction.”
Vengalis was arrested five hours after his wife’s body was found and charged with her murder three days later.
Ms Vengaliene, who was originally from the Lithuanian town of Rokiskis, but had lived in the UK for about seven years, according to her friends.
Her family said in a tribute that ‘Egle Vengaliene, just 35 years old, passed away on April 9, 2021.
“She was loving, caring and dedicated to her family, she radiated optimism, joy and positive energy and believed in the bright future of her family.
She “she leaves behind five of her children, who will have to grow up without the love of her mother and will always yearn and cry for her mother. Protect your children from heaven and rest in peace. ”
A friend of hers described her as a “good mother” and a “pretty woman”, as well as a “beloved daughter and sister”.
A spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service said: ‘The CPS has carefully reviewed material provided by Suffolk police in connection with a murder charge.
‘We have concluded that our trial to initiate prosecution is not met and there is no longer a realistic prospect of conviction.
As a result, we will not take any further action in this case. Our thoughts remain with Egle Vengaliene’s family at this sad and difficult time.
Andrius Vengalis Quick and Facts
- Andrius Vengalis was accused of killing Lithuanian-born wife Egle Vengaliene
- 46-year-old arrested after she died near a lake in Brandon Country Park, Suffolk
- Witness told police he saw Mr Vengalis ‘pumping up and down in the water’
- But the witness later clarified that he believed he saw Mr Vengalis giving CPR
- A review could not determine if she was unlawfully killed or took her own life
- Today prosecutors offered no evidence and a judge gave a not guilty verdict