Thursday 14 December 2017

Man found guilty of murdering victim who was guarding prostitutes in brothel

The Courts of Criminal Justice
The Courts of Criminal Justice

Niamh O’Donoghue

A MAN will be sentenced to life in prison for murdering a man who was guarding two prostitutes in brothel last year.

Polish national Przemyslaw Trebacz (35) of Bramble Rise, Killynebber, Cavan had pleaded not guilty to the murder of Romanian national Costel Catalin Cretu (38) at Connolly Court, Connolly Street, Cavan between October 13 and 14, 2012.

He had pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a door belonging to Brendan Cosgrove at Connolly Court on October 13, 2012.

The Central Criminal Court heard Mr Cretu was stabbed once in the chest and once in the back and died at the scene.

The jury of nine men and three women returned the majority verdict of 10-2 after almost 10 hours of deliberations.

Mr Justice Barry White thanked the jury before excusing them from further service for life.

Mr Justice White adjourned sentencing at the request of the defence until January 20 next when a victim impact statement will be read to the court.

It was the prosecution’s case that Trebacz went to the apartment to carry out a robbery and brought a weapon with him.

Trebacz denied bringing a knife with him and said he was going to the brothel to visit prostitutes with another man.

He told gardai he paid Mr Cretu €80 for a half hour but the door shut in his face.

Trebacz told gardai he kicked the apartment door in and he struggled with Mr Cretu before he stabbed him but said he was acting in self-defence.

He denied stealing money from one of the prostitutes and said he had a letter from his solicitor saying he was getting an apartment with €74,000 from his mother’s will.

Paul Greene SC, defending, raised the defences of provocation and self-defence during the trial, which started on November 28 last.

State Pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy told the court that the deceased had two stab wounds.

She said there was one wound to the chest, which was fatal as it penetrated the heart and lung causing blood loss and a shallow wound to the back.

Trebacz, who was 34 at the time, was living in Ireland with his partner and her child and he was unemployed, the court heard.

He told gardai he was living on his partner’s One-parent Family Payment as he had not worked long enough to claim his own social welfare.

Trebacz also said he had visited Connolly Court previously, which the court heard housed other brothels.

The prosecution’s chief witness was Mr Cretu’s partner, a prostitute who was in the apartment on the night of the incident.

The court was told that the second prostitute in the apartment that night was never traced.

Florentina Sotir (41) told the court that she and another woman called Strop, were working as prostitutes in an apartment and that her partner Mr Cretu was guarding them.

She told the court that another woman would usually phone to say a client was arriving to avail of their services and only opened the door when told to in advance.

Ms Sotir told Patrick McGrath SC, prosecuting, she met Mr Cretu in Romania and was going out with him before she moved to Ireland.

The witness said Mr Cretu came to Ireland about a week before the incident was supposed to get work in construction but did not.

She told the court Mr Cretu was employed to protect the women after an unpleasant incident had occurred.

Mr Cretu would stay in the kitchen or living room when the clients were in the house but he would never take any money.

Ms Sotir said she was in the bedroom with Mr Cretu at 11pm when she heard a noise from the door, the bell was ringing and there was shouting. 

Mr Cretu went to the door but two men broke in and that the taller one stabbed Mr Cretu with a knife.

Ms Sotir said that the tall man held a knife to her throat and asked for money while the smaller one was walking up and down towards the door.

She said the taller man took a wallet with €300 in it.

Ms Sotir said the taller man took the knife with him when he left and the two men ran out of the apartment.

She said she phoned a Romanian man after the incident and that he told her to clean up any evidence of prostitution and dispose of it.

Taxi driver Gary Malone gave evidence he got a call from Trebacz at around 11pm on the night in question looking for a lift.

Mr Malone said Trebacz and a smaller skinhead guy with a striped jersey came out of the house and got into the car.

He said they were talking to each other in Polish and then he heard Trebacz using the phrase ‘Soviet attack’.

Mr Malone said he noticed a green woolly sock in his left hand with something solid in it.

He said Trebacz left his phone in the bottle holder of his car and the two men got out of the taxi.

He said Trebacz kept mentioning the IRA and saying: “you have to keep your country, you have to keep your country”.

Trebacz told gardai he mentioned the IRA to the taxi man because “no country needs people like that” and all “Romanians are all gangsters”.

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