Tuesday 24 April 2018

Drug dealer (25) who fatally stabbed man over €300 debt tells court he wanted to 'teach him a lesson'

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Eoin Reynolds

A drug dealer who admits stabbing a man to death following rows over a €300 debt told gardai he wanted to teach the deceased a lesson, his murder trial heard today.

Rihards Lavickis (25) of Annaly Court, Longford has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Akadiusz Czajkowski (31) at Rue Noyal Chatillon, Townspark in Longford on November 1, 2016. His plea was not accepted by the State and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Detective Garda Joe Esler told prosecuting counsel Patrick McGrath SC that he interviewed the accused at Longford Garda Station on November 1 and 2 2016. During those interviews Mr Lavickis told gardai that he had owed Mr Czajkowski €300 and that the deceased came looking for the money and beat him with a set of knuckle dusters outside his home.

There were further incidents and on November 1 2016 Mr Lavickis awoke to see the front window of the home he shared with his partner and children had been smashed. He took a knife and went searching for Mr Czajkowski. He told gardai that he wanted to, "teach him a lesson not to go near me and my family."

The accused also told gardai that he sold drugs for a local dealer, for which he received €50 per day.

Explaining the background to these incidents Mr Lavickis told gardai that he first met the deceased about one year earlier and things were friendly enough for a time. Mr Lavickis would buy cannabis from Mr Czajkowski and they would drink together from time to time.

However, he soon found that Mr Czajkowski couldn't control himself when drinking and taking drugs . On one occasion he said it was "like he lost the plot" after doing shots of vodka. He said Mr Czajkowski became angry and wanted to fight. He threatened Mr Lavickis with a broken chair but when Mr Lavickis remained calm and refused to fight, Mr Czajkowski "flipped out", started breaking his own windows and then went outside and broke his neighbour's windows. The gardai came and Mr Lavickis left.

Mr Czajkowski later came to Mr Lavickis' apartment around March of 2016 looking for €300 that the accused owed him for cannabis. When he didn't get his money he beat Mr Lavickis with a knuckle duster. Later Mr Lavickis agreed to pay back €200, deducting €100 from the debt because of the assault.

He told gardai there were more incidents when he met the deceased who was "looking for a fight, but not a fair fight." He said Mr Czajkowski always had somoene else with him and that he wasn't the type of person to go "one on one". He also said Mr Czajkowski would call him and threaten him and his girlfriend. On one occasion Mr Czajkowski told his girlfriend: "When Rihards goes to jail, we will see what happens then."

On Halloween night Mr Lavickis was with two friends when Mr Czajkowski and two men pulled up in a silver Volkswagen Golf near the local Tesco. The deceased demanded the remaining €100. Words were exchanged. The men got out of the car and Mr Lavickis saw one of them carrying a stick and decided, "this is not a fair fight" so he and his friends ran away and went home.

Mr Lavickis was sitting in a van belonging to another person when he saw Mr Czajkowski near Longford Shopping Centre. He armed himself with a knife, telling gardai that there is no such thing as a fair fight with Mr Czajkowski and he wanted to face him "one on one".

The accused walked to an alleyway so Mr Czajkowski couldn't see him. When Mr Czajkowski crossed the road Mr Lavickis ran at him with the knife. Mr Czajkowski ran backwards. He was surprised, Mr Lavickis said and kept backing away until the accused stabbed him in the chest. The fatal wound went through his ribs and pierced his heart.

Gardai asked if he had intended to used the knife or threaten Mr Czajkowski. He said he was thinking he would frighten him but "when it was out I decided to use it". He said he is not the sort of person to bring a knife onto the street and stick it in someone, adding: "I have to have a nice set of reasons to do this."

The trial will continue on Tuesday in front of Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh and a jury of six men and six women.

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