A 59-YEAR-old alleged to have murdered three Shropshire men 17 years ago said during police interviews he did not “kill the bloke in Whitchurch”, a court heard.

Robin Ligus was question two years ago about the deaths of Brian Coles, Trevor Bradley and Bernard Czyzewska in 1994.

The former painter and decorator from Shrewsbury, who is already serving a life sentence for killing pensioner Robert Young in the same year, is standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court for the three murders.

Mr Coles was found dead in his home at Higher Heath, near Whitchurch, in October, 1994, and in November Mr Czyzewska’s body was found in the River Severn. Mr Bradley’s body had been found in a burnt-out car in Melverley a few months earlier.

The court has previously heard tapes of Ligus admitting to the murders while talking to a prison immate.

In transcripts of the subsequent 2009 interviews – which were read to the jury – Ligus said he used to have a local paper delivered in prison when asked why he confessed to the murders.

Ligus said: “I used to read the Shropshire Star every night and everything I said would have been from the papers.

“Every little thing I would have read from the paper.

“It would have been in my memory.

“I know for certain I did not kill the bloke in Whitchurch.”

The defendant had also claimed he obtained details of Mr Bradley’s and Mr Czyzewska’s deaths from information contained  in the newspaper.

The jury also heard Ligus claimed in an interview with a medical expert that he was the reincarnation of a person born in 1852 and that 1883 was also a very special year for him, although he could not remember the “murky” details.

Before the start of the trial Mr Justice Colman Treacy ruled Ligus, who has suffered with deteriorating health since a stroke in 2003, was unfit to plead.

The jury must determine whether he was responsible for the acts that led to the deaths of Mr Coles and the other two men.

Ms Rachel Brand, for Ligus, asked the jury to consider if Ligus was a “serial confesser” rather than a “serial killer”.

“I’m not asking you to like him. He killed a 78-year-old man and it was for money to buy drugs,” she said.

“He has to prove his innocence but at this stage in his life he is at a disadvantage because he cannot answer questions for himself,” she added.

Ms Brand also asked the jury to consider that the recorded audio tapes of Ligus’s confessing to a string of murders to a prison inmate were a “put-up job”.

She said the “clearly visible and credible reason” for Ligus making up the confessions was to tell the stories in return for heroin.

The trial continues.