The mother of a 23-year-old man who was beaten unconscious and left to drown in the River Shannon has said she cannot forget her son’s “massacred face” when she closes her eyes.
On Monday morning this week a cage fighter and another man were jailed for life for murdering Polish-born Patryk Krupa. Mr Krupa drowned in the Shannon outside Athlone while incapacitated with a head injury from a violent assault on June 20, 2014.
Leszek Sychulec (34 ), a Polish cage fighter with an address at Drinan, Ballymahon, Co Longford, and Andrzej Gruchacz (35 ) with an address in Warsaw, Poland had pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Krupa at Bogganfin, Athlone, Co Roscommon. On April 21 last, a jury of four women and eight men deliberated for five hours before finding both men guilty of murdering Mr Krupa.
On Monday morning, Mr Garnet Orange SC for the State told the court that he had been asked to read a victim impact statement on behalf of the mother of Mr Krupa.
Mrs Krupa said that her life has changed a lot since the death of her son and she cannot function properly: “Nothing is the same any more. I can’t sleep and I didn’t work for a year. I now only go to work twice a week as I cannot stand being around people,” she said.
Mrs Krupa said the last time she saw her son was when he was walking to the gym and if she had only stopped the car “nothing would have happened him”.
The court heard that her son really wanted to be a father but that was taken from him: “I can’t look at fathers pushing their kids around town as my son can’t do that now. I can’t listen to music and I don’t enjoy life any more,” she said.
The court heard that her daughter moved out of her home a few days after “everything happened” as she “could not stand living there” as everything reminded her of Patryk.
All her days now consist of going to the cemetery: “I cannot forget my son’s massacred face when I close my eyes. I keep seeing him in the morgue in a black bag. I still can’t forget how I felt mentally and physically in the morgue. I dream of not being able to hold him in my arms again,” she said.
Handing down sentence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt thanked Mrs Krupa for her “very moving victim impact statement” where her “continuing upset is obvious”.
He said Mrs Krupa lost her son “in such a meaningless way” and he extended his condolences to her on her loss: “Nothing I can say can improve her situation. I hope she regards the outcome of the deliberations by the jury as some comfort,” he said.
Before handing down sentence, the judge told the court that no explanation into the background of what caused this to happen to Mr Krupa had been forthcoming.
He said the only mitigating factors on the part of the two accused was their co-operation with the investigation but there were “very few mitigating factors beyond that”.
Mr Justice Hunt gave the men mandatory life sentences and backdated them to the respective dates from when each of them went into custody.
He then imposed a seven-year concurrent sentence on Sychulec for false imprisonment as well as a five-year concurrent sentence on Gruchacz for false imprisonment.