Cage fighter and friend guilty of murdering man (23) near Shannon
A cage fighter and another man have been found guilty of murdering a 23-year-old by beating him unconscious and leaving him to drown in the River Shannon.
Polish-born Patryk Krupa drowned in the Shannon outside Athlone while incapacitated with a head injury from a violent assault on June 20, 2014.
Leszek Sychulec (34), a Polish cage fighter with an address at Drinan, Ballymahon, Co Longford, and Andrzej Gruchacz (35), with an address in Warsaw, Poland, had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Krupa at Bogganfin, Athlone, Co Roscommon.
The Central Criminal Court trial heard that Mr Krupa had been walking to the gym with two friends, when a black BMW stopped beside them and two men got out. One of these men head-butted one of Mr Krupa's friends before telling them to f**k off. They moved away as instructed and Mr Krupa disappeared down an alley with the men from the BMW.
The trial heard the friends were concerned as they knew Mr Krupa owed some money to a man. They contacted Mr Krupa's pregnant girlfriend and the three began searching for him. They found the deceased floating face down in the Shannon. They tried to revive him but he couldn't be saved and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The jury heard from a witness called Kuba Zmuda, who had been instructed by the two men in the BMW to find Mr Krupa. He said he was in the front passenger seat when the two men took their victim off Church Street in Athlone.
Mr Zmuda said Mr Krupa was crying, "I pay", as they beat him. Mr Krupa's blood was found on Mr Sychulec's watch and sock. The jury reached a unanimous verdict after five hours deliberating.