The family of a karate champion cleared of murdering a man in the street shootout have said they knew “the truth would come out”.
Edmund Nela, 31, was yesterday acquitted of murdering father-of-two Xhem Krasniqi at Hove Crown Court.
Mr Krasniqi, 32, was fatally shot in Selbourne Road, Hove, at 11.30pm on Saturday, May 18 last year, dying hours later in Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.
Mr Nela, who sailed to France the day after the incident before being extradited from Italy around three weeks later, was also cleared of the attempted murder of Mr Krasniqi's brother Ismail Zeneli and nephew Kelmed Murataj, possession of a 9mm pistol and possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Speaking exclusively to The Argus after the hearing, his brother Albert Nela - initially arrested alongside him on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, a charge which was subsequently dropped, said: “I said the truth would come out and it has today.
“It is nothing to be pleased about. I already knew this would be the case.”
In letters to the newspaper before the trial, which we could not publish at the time for legal reasons, he said: “My brother and her [his girlfriend] are the victims in all this.”
Albert Nela also contacted The Argus from Italy immediately after the shooting, where he was with his brother, and said he “felt sick”.
Edmund Nela who has dual Albanian-British citizenship and who lived in Brighton and Hove at the time of the murder although is currently of no fixed address, said in court he accidentally shot Mr Krasniqi after being ambushed as he ran down a street.
He told jurors he was “blocked” by a man who subsequently threatened him before a car containing others, including Mr Krasniqi, pulled up.
He said there was tussle over a gun, which did not belong to him, and shots were subsequently accidentally fired.
Yesterday the family of Mr Krasniqi, including his wife of ten years, wept following the verdict.
Yesterday a Sussex Police Detective Superintendent Ian Pollard, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: "We accept the decision of the court. This was a difficult case for a number of reasons. Whatever reason was behind them meeting that day it did not warrant someone losing their life.
"My sympathies go to Xhem's wife who sat through all the evidence, some of it was understandably difficult to listen to. I would like to pay tribute to her resolve and composure throughout."