Sunday 16 December 2018

Father-of-two (31) died from single stab wound to the heart, court hears

The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed
The judge threw out McDonagh’s claim which meant the six other claims collapsed with it and were dismissed

Eoin Reynolds

A father-of-two died when a wound inflicted with a 7.5cm blade pierced his heart, State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told a murder trial at the Central Criminal Court today.

Professor Cassidy told prosecuting counsel Patrick McGrath SC that she found three stab wounds in total when she examined the body of Akadiusz 'Arek' Czajkowski who died following a stabbing at Rue Noyal Chatillon in Longford on November 1, 2016. One was a defensive type injury to the left ring finger and another a superficial injury to the arm. The wound that caused death was a stab wound to the chest that went through the rib cage into the pericardial sac and ended in the left ventricle of the heart.

A toxicology report also showed that the deceased had consumed valium, amphetamines and alcohol. Professor Cassidy said it is difficult to say what effect this combination would have had on the deceased's behaviour. She also found fatty tissue on the deceased's liver which she said is evidence of chronic alcohol use.

Professor Cassidy said the knife used, a brown-handled folding knife, looked to have a blade of about 7.5cm. She said she measured the wound depth at 7cm but that in reality it was likely to be more shallow than that as the heart was beating when the stabbing happened.

Rihards Lavickis (25) of Annaly Court, Longford has pleaded not uilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Czajkowski (31). His plea was not accepted and he is on trial at the Central Criminal Court.

Mr McGrath read the statement of the deceaded's mother, Halina Czajkowska, who lived in Sweden at the time of her son's death. Ms Czajkowska said that she was aware that her son drank too much and she would send him money from time to time. He complained to her that someone owed him money but would not pay it back, so she sent him e200 not long before his death.

Beata Parcheta told the court that her partner was a friend of the deceased. She said Mr Czajkowski had previously been in prison in Ireland and that she thought this would be good for him as he was drinking too much. She also said that he went by the name Alex Kulbat because he had been in trouble with the law in Poland. A number of witnesses in the trial, including gardai, knew him as Alex or Arek.

She said Mr Czajkowski was "always in trouble", adding: "When somebody drinks it is never peace and quiet, it is always trouble."

Sarah Fleming of Forensic Science Ireland told the court that she examined blood found on the sleeve of a jacket belonging to the accused man. The DNA of the blood matched that of the deceased. She agreed with defence counsel John Shortt SC that DNA evidence is useful to link suspects to a victim in cases where the accused denies all responsibility, but that this is a case where the accused has conceded from the outset that he stabbed the deceased.

The jury has also viewed CCTV footage of the moments before the fatal stabbing. Detective Sergeant Eric Godfrey told Mr McGrath that the CCTV shows Mr Lavickis coming after the deceased with his arm raised. The deceased is then seen picking up pace and running off camera. Det Sgt Godfrey agreed that the accused had a knife in his right hand which was raised to about shoulder height. It is the prosecution's case that Mr Lavickis stabbed Mr Czajkowski moments later just off camera on Rue Noyal Chatillon.

The witness added that the time from when Mr Lavickis chases the deceased across the road to when Mr Czajkowski collapsed on the floor is less than three minutes.

Det Sgt Godfrey confirmed to defence counsel that both the accused and deceased had previous convictions. Mr Lavickis has 20 convictions in total, all at Longford District Court. They include possession of a knife when he was 16 years old and more recently for possession of drugs and possession of drugs with intent to supply. The deceased had 15 previous convictions, including in Northern Ireland where he was convicted of driving with excess alcohol, aggravated assault on a female and unlawful possession of drugs.

In August 2013 Mr Czajkowski was convicted of possession of drugs at Longford District Court and in 2015 for threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour, for burglary and damage to property.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of in front of Justice Una Ni Raifeartaigh and a jury of six men and six women

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