Saturday 24 March 2018

CCTV footage shown in trial of two men charged with murdering man (23) by beating him unconscious and leaving him to drown

Accused Leszek Sychulec
Accused Leszek Sychulec

CCTV footage has been shown in the trial of two men charged with murdering a 23-year-old by beating him unconscious and leaving him to drown in the Shannon.

Leszek Sychulec (34) of Drinan, Ballymahon, Co Longford and Andrzej Gruchacz (35) with an address in Warsaw, Poland are charged with murdering Patryk Krupa at Bogganfin, Athlone, Co Roscommon on June 20th, 2014.

Each man was arraigned before the Central Criminal Court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to the charge. Both men also denied a second charge each of falsely imprisoning Mr Krupa in Athlone on the same date, and a jury of four women and eight men was sworn in to hear the trial.

The jury was this morning shown CCTV footage of men taken that evening at Collins Service Station, Athlone. They were also shown still photographs taken from the footage.

The jurors have now been excused until this afternoon so legal matters can be discussed in their absence.

Garnet Orange SC opened the case for the State, telling the jury that Mr Krupa, who was of Polish extraction, was with two friends walking through Athlone on their way to the gym that evening.

The barrister anticipated that the evidence would show that a black BMW pulled up alongside them when they were on the main street approaching the Shannon, that two men got out of the back seat and that there was an exchange between them and the deceased while the car was driven down a lane.

The evidence would show that one of the men headbutted one of Mr Krupa’s friends and that the deceased then went down the lane with the two men to the BMW.

His two friends were aware that he owed money to an individual and became concerned immediately. They tried to phone him and joined his girlfriend in looking for him.

They drove to Bogganfin, a slip on the banks of the Shannon. There they saw their friend’s gym bag, markings on the gravel and blood spots.

One of the friends then saw Mr Krupa’s body floating in the river. He took him out and tried to revive him but wasn’t able to save his friend.

“Patryk Krupa received what can only be described as an absolutely savage beating to the head, face and body,” said Mr Orange. “He was obviously very badly injured before being put in the water.”

He said the State pathologist would describe distinctive markings consistent with footwear being applied to his body.

She would also say that he was still alive when he entered the water, and that he drowned as a result of being incapacitated due to being unconscious when thrown into the river.

The barrister said that Mr Krupa’s friends were able to look into the black BMW and identify the men in the car.

He said the jury would also hear from the man, who was in the front passenger seat of the BMW that evening, and that this would be of great assistance.

“It’s the prosecution case that the two men (the accused) … were the two people who took him from the car at the slip and imposed this savage assault on him,” he said.

The trial continues before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and is expected to last more than three weeks.

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