Seven years for killing flatmate in row
Published 26/01/2010 | 05:00
A SLOVAKIAN father of two has been sentenced to seven years in prison for killing his Polish flatmate after an argument about a light being left on.
Robert Kwiatkowski (33) was killed the week before his daughter made her First Holy Communion.
Josef Szabo (51) of Rathlin House, Waterville, Blanchardstown, and originally from Bratislava, was convicted of the manslaughter of Mr Kwiatkowski on April 20, 2007, at their apartment in Rathlin House.
The landscape gardener had pleaded not guilty to murder and denied any involvement in the killing during his trial.
The trial heard that the grossly intoxicated carpenter died from a stab wound to the chest.
Two flatmates, Eve Kocokova and Ladislav Nemecheck, said Szabo had slammed the door on the victim's hand not long before they found him collapsed in the hallway of the apartment.
Mr Kwiatkowski had gone to Mr Szabo's room to complain about a light being left on.
Two flatmates said they heard "a loud bang", went to the hall, and found the victim lying on the floor.
Mr Szabo came from his room and helped Mr Nemecheck to administer first-aid to the victim.
"Bloodstains found in Mr Szabo's room strongly supported the contention that the deceased had bled in there," the court was told.
In his statement to gardai, the accused said the victim had been pushing at his bedroom door, that he wanted him to leave and so he pushed back. He then heard a shout and went to the hall, where he saw Mr Kwiatkowski vomiting.
The court heard Mr Kwiatkowski came to Ireland looking for work in 2005 at the age of 31. His seven-year-old daughter and fiancee lived in Poland, as did his mother, Kazia.
His sister, Renata, who lived in the US prepared a victim impact statement, which the detective read.
She described her brother as happy and helpful, and someone who would be greatly missed by his family.
"I would say to you Josef Szabo I can't understand how someone can kill someone for such a small thing," she said. "The hatred in your body must be very strong."
She said the future would be difficult for her brother's fiancee, Monica, and that her niece would always miss her father.
"His daughter, Gabrielle, made her First Communion the week after he died. He was supposed to be there," she said. His trial heard that he was preparing to return to Poland on the night of his death.
"You do not know what true love means," she said.
"His mother will spend the rest of her days in mourning for her son," she said, explaining that he visited her often. "I will never have a chance to tell him how much I love him."
The detective said Mr Szabo had no previous convictions and had been here 16 months at the time of the killing.
Mr Justice White imposed a seven-year sentence and suspended the final 18 months.