Monday 24 July 2017

Polish man sentenced to life in jail for murder of shop worker

Victims' parents Bernie and Donal Cunningham leave the Central Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday
Victims' parents Bernie and Donal Cunningham leave the Central Criminal Court in Dublin yesterday

Lonan Paul

THE family of a young man brutally stabbed to death outside a nightclub yesterday told how the life sentence handed down to his killer has vindicated their beloved relative.

Alexsander Nadwodny, a 28-year-old Polish man, was found guilty of the "brutal and pointless murder" of Kieran Cunningham, a young shop assistant, following an incident outside a Galway nightclub in June 2009.

Nadwodny, formerly of Remore Park in Galway, had denied the murder, which happened following a night out at Karma nightclub.

Yesterday, the dead man's uncle, Martin Cunningham, said the verdict was the only one with which the family would have been happy.

"Kieran was an absolute joker. . . a little man with a big big heart; he was a dote. There wasn't a bad bone in his body -- so any other verdict would have cast aspersions on him," he said.

"He and his friends did nothing wrong and this verdict vindicates that."

On the night of the attack, Mr Cunningham was standing near his friends when Nadwodny stabbed him three times in the space of six seconds, inflicting a 13cm-deep wound to his heart.

His friends saw nothing of the attack and only noticed something was wrong when they saw the 20-year-old collapsed in a pool of blood.

It took the jury just under three hours to find Nadwodny guilty of murder by unanimous verdict at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

He shook his head as Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy handed down the mandatory life sentence.

Mr Cunningham's parents, Bernie and Donal, broke down in tears and embraced each other.

In his victim impact statement to the court, Martin Cunningham had described how his nephew had been born premature, weighing just two pounds, and had to fight for life.

His father made a pact with God that he would give up his "modest social life" in order for his son to live.

Mr Cunningham said Kieran's parents could not come to terms with "how a so-called human being could stab their son for nothing more than having a laugh with his friends".

Captured

All they have left were questions, he said, including why their son's last moments on earth were filled with "such unbelievable horror" as he suffered a "pointless and brutal" murder.

Nadwodny's attack on Mr Cunningham was captured on CCTV cameras and the footage was shown to the jury during seven days of evidence.

Nadwodny himself took the witness stand as the trial was coming to a close, and told the jury he had been sitting outside Karma with his friend, Jolanta Zlotnik, and had been falling in and out of sleep because he was so drunk.

Ms Zlotnik woke him up, he said, and pointed out that Mr Cunningham was shouting and gesturing at her from across the street. Nadwodny said she showed him a knife in her handbag and told him to "do something" about it.

Nadwodny, a body-builder who had been on steroids, said he remembered walking across the road with the knife, but nothing more.

He said he was too drunk to notice that Mr Cunningham was just over 5ft tall and weighed 59kg.

He said he just wanted "to defend" Ms Zlotnik.

But Ms Zlotnik, who was the main prosecution witness in the trial, repeatedly denied that she had a knife that night, or that Mr Cunningham had been harassing her.

She said Nadwodny had got up without a word and approached the youth.

Two days after the attack, she went to gardai. A massive publicity campaign was launched in order to track down Nadwodny, who was not found until the end of July, almost two months after the murder.

"I feel sad there are such human beings walking the streets of Ireland. He did his crime and I hope he pays his time," Martin Cunningham said outside the court.

Irish Independent

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