'I want killers to die' - fiancée of Chepstow Road murder victim
ANGUISH: Mandy Hammond, still trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of her fiancé Ramunas Raulinautis
THE fiancée of a Newport man who was savagely murdered last year has spoken for the first time about the “living hell” she has endured since his death.
Mandy Hammond, 40, says her life has not been worth living since her husband-to-be, Ramunas Raulinautis, was savagely attacked, set on fire and left for dead on Chepstow Road on March 9, 2011.
She can’t sleep at night, is afraid to go out of the house alone and sleeps with a knife under her bed – terrified someone will come and attack her.
The mother of seven lives out of boxes because she is fearful she may have to flee her home at short notice.
Eighteen months ago she was looking forward to planning her wedding, but her world fell apart on March 12, 2011, when two police officers knocked her door to tell her that her fiancé was dead.
His killers, Kamil Semrau and Pawel Lysonik, were jailed for life as part of 100 years-worth of sentences handed out by a judge for his murder and a second attempted murder less than 48 hours earlier.
Lukas Kalkowski and Stanislaw Gliszczynski were jailed for 14 years for GBH with intent on Mr Raulinautis, and three years for attempted GBH on a second man, Stanislaw Galeza, to be served consecutively.
Miss Hammond met Lithuanian Mr Raulinautis in Newport five years before he died. They were introduced through a mutual friendship they shared with relatives of his attackers.
He had moved to the UK to find work and Miss Hammond helped by teaching him English and getting him a job washing cars seven days a week for a firm in Griffithstown.
He made friends in the area and Miss Hammond said he regularly went out drinking with the men who later became his attackers.
Mr Raulinautis, 34, would often give the men money and buy them alcohol, she said, and she even did their laundry for them.
Four years after they met, the couple were engaged and were looking forward to planning their wedding.
But Mr Raulinautis’ life was cut short when he was beaten and set on fire by the men who left him outside a hotel forecourt. He suffered 60 per cent burns to his body and died of his injuries at Swansea’s Morriston Hospital three days later.
In the day leading up to his murder, all four men were drinking with him at Semrau’s bedsit. The men then turned on Mr Raulinautis and attacked him.
Miss Hammond relives the day she was told the devastating news.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it, I said ‘I only saw him a few days ago’.
“I went to the hospital and I didn’t want to leave him. I still sit here and think what would he be doing now?
“It’s very hard for me, I have nobody to talk to, nobody understands what I am going through and it all builds up in my head.
“When I found out what they had done to him I was disgusted, I thought it cannot be real, there’s no way. They were his friends – you don’t do that to your friends.”
It was Miss Hammond who identified the four men to police, because she knew Mr Raulinautis had been out drinking with them on March 9. He did not return home that night but she didn’t think this was unusual as he often stayed out when he had been drinking.
Before and during the 12- week trial, she was placed under police protection and visited Cardiff Crown Court when she could to watch proceedings.
She was there to hear the verdicts read out.
“My legs started going, my guts were churning. I get goose pimples just thinking about it,” she said.
The men were handed long prison sentences, including Lysonik, who must serve a minimum 36-year sentence – the longest term given for a Gwent case.
But Miss Hammond believes it is not long enough.
She said: “I have got nothing out here to live for anymore.
A life should be for a life, they killed my man and I am not going to be happy until they are dead.
“My head is in pieces and people think I have got to forget it – I can’t just forget it. I have got to get up every day knowing what they did.”
Miss Hammond says she has experienced little closure since the end of the trial and firmly believes her life with never be the same again.
“I’m scared to go out, if I’ve got an appointment I put it off or try and get around it.
“I should not have to be like that, I cannot live a normal life. I am petrified,” she said.
Miss Hammond had to wait three months before Mr Raulinautis’ body was released by the coroner allowing her to arrange his funeral, which was attended only by her and two police officers.
Court: ‘Ferocious beating’
DURING the trial Cardiff Crown Court heard how Mr Raulinautis was handed a “ferocious beating” before being burned alive.
Trial judge Mr Justice Roderick Evans said: “It must have been a ferocious beating to cause the loss of blood which stained the bedsit and the hall outside and to have caused the extremely serious injuries sustained by Mr Raulinautis.”
Mr Raulinautis suffered brain damage, multiple rib fractures and a perforated bowel in the attack. Semrau also stamped on Mr Raulinautis’ head.
The men dumped his unconscious body outside the neighbouring Gateway Express Hotel before Semrau and Lysonik went outside and stuffed shredded paper, placed outside for recycling by a neighbour, into his clothing before setting him on fire.
Justice Evans said: “Even in his injured state, he must have been in agony and he continued to suffer until he died.”
Semrau, 28, of Chepstow Road, was given a minimum term of 30 years and Lysonik, 22, of Capel Crescent, will serve at least 36 years.
Lysonik was also given 15 years for the attempted murder of Stanislaw Galeza on March 7, 2011, and seven years for arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
This was after he set fire to the mattress the unconscious Mr Galeza was lying on in his home after he, Kalkowski and Gliszczynski had beaten him up.
These terms will be served concurrently.
Lukas Kalkowski, 30, of Laundry Road, Pontypridd and Stanislaw Gliszczynski, 31, of no fixed abode were jailed for three years for attempted GBH on Mr Galeza and 14 years for GBH with intent on Mr Raulinautis, to be served consecutively.