Prosecution and defence issue closing statements in Patryk Krupa murder trial

The late Patryk Krupa

The late Patryk Krupa

The State and defence in the Patryk Krupa murder trial issued their closing statements on Tuesday this week in the Central Criminal Court, Dublin.

The court has heard that Patryk Krupa drowned while incapacitated with a head injury from a violent assault on June 20, 2014.

Leszek Sychulec (34 ) of Drinan, Ballymahon, Longford, and Andrzej Gruchacz (35 ) with an address in Warsaw, Poland have pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Krupa at Bogganfin, Athlone, Co Roscommon. Both also deny a second charge each of falsely imprisoning him in the town on the same date.

Conor Devally SC was giving his closing speech on behalf of one of the two men charged with murdering the 23-year-old by beating him unconscious and leaving him to drown in the River Shannon.

Mr Devally, defending Mr Gruchacz, said that the case against his client centred on CCTV footage of a man in a white t-shirt captured after the incident, and on passport photographs found in the car in which his co-accused was arrested. He said there was no eye witness for him to cross examine on the identification of this person as his client.

“You’re left with a telly, some stills and the memory of looking at a man across the room,” he said, referring to his client sitting across the courtroom from the jury. “You’ve been served a half-baked, uncooked product and you’re being told to go in and finish it off,” he suggested, telling the jurors they had no choice but to acquit his client.

Sean Gillane SC had earlier given his closing speech on behalf of Mr Sychulec, noting the evidence of one of the main witnesses in the case, Kuba Zmuda.

Mr Zmuda had testified that he was in the car that collected Mr Krupa and took him to the river that evening. He gave detailed descriptions of the two men in the back, whom he said beat the deceased and dragged him to the water. He said he didn’t report what had happened because they had threatened him.

“He would want to have ice in his veins, if he really thought Patryk Krupa was dying, not to go back or make an anonymous call,” he suggested. “Or was it that no one, at this stage, knows the trouble Mr Krupa is in?”

He said that this lack of knowledge would sit with the arrival of his client that night to a shop full of cameras, where he was so well known that staff knew him by his regular order.

The prosecutor had earlier told the jury that the two accused were the same two men who took the deceased to the banks of the Shannon, and "pummeled him to the point of unconsciousness and threw him in the river".

“They drove away and left him to his fate under the bridge,” said Garnet Orange SC in his closing speech for the State. “He was murdered.”

He reminded the jury that, when Mr Sychulec was arrested in the early hours of the following day, Mr Krupa’s DNA was found in blood on his watch and sock. “The DNA evidence seals the deal,” said the barrister.

Mr Orange suggested that the description given of the other man involved matched that of Mr Gruchacz. He asked them to look at the "distinctive" face in passport photos and a fake driving licence found in the car in which his co-accused was arrested. “You cannot have any doubt as to who this man is when you look at Andrzej Gruchacz,” he said.

“The evidence is that both of the [accused] men are the two men, who took Patrick Krupa, who pummeled him to the point of unconsciousness, threw him in the river and then drove away,” he submitted. “I ask you to return guilty verdicts on all four counts.”

The trial continues in front of Mr Justice Tony Hunt and the jury of four women and eight men.

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