Aleksander Pawlak, 30, suffered facial fractures and other injuries in the late-night attack at his basement flat on Pinderfields Road and prosecutor Peter Moulson QC told a jury at Bradford Crown Court this week that the nature and distribution of the injuries strongly suggested that he had been subjected to “a sustained, violent assault” close to the time of his death.
Mr Moulson alleged that all five defendants had travelled in a Volkswagen Passat from Southampton to Wakefield that night and that a dispute over a debt, possibly drugs related, between Adam Litwinowicz, 24, and the deceased had led to the killing.
It was submitted by Mr Moulson that some of the group had brought table or chair legs with them and some also had gloves.
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“In the course of the attack upon Mr Pawlak neighbours heard screaming and shouting from the premises and the emergency services were called,” said Mr Moulson.
Police and paramedics found Mr Pawlak in the back yard just outside the door and despite efforts to save him he was declared dead just after midnight on September 9 last year.
Mr Moulson alleged that after the VW Passat parked up Litwinowicz, Maciaj Solarz, 28, and Michal Szymanski, 24, had all gone into the basement flat where Mr Pawlak lived alone.
During the police investigation officers recovered a discarded glove which had been in contact with Mr Pawlak’s wet blood and which was also allegedly worn by Solarz.
When he was arrested in the Southampton area Solarz was wearing a Hugo Boss gold watch which matched one stolen from Mr Pawlak.
Two televisions had also been stolen from the flat and Mr Moulson said when police searched Solarz’s home in Alma Road, Southampton, they found a Bush television which had staining from Mr Pawlak’s blood on it.
Police in Kent arrested Michal Szymanski, his girlfriend Karolina Kukawska, 21, and Litwinowicz, as they waited in a Mercedes Sprinter vehicle to board a ferry at Dover on September 14.
Mr Moulson said there were multiple suitcases and bags in the vehicle as well as another television again with staining from Mr Pawlak’s blood.
Marceli Szymanski, 20, was also arrested during the inquiry while he was driving the VW Passat in Hampshire and forensic examination later found blood attributable to Mr Pawlak was found inside the vehicle on the rear offside door handle.
The five defendants, who all lived in the Southampton area, have denied charges of murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.
Mr Moulson said Litwinowicz claimed to have been involved in a fight with Mr Pawlak, but he had hit him to defend himself.
Solarz and Michal Szymanski accepted being in the premises, but said they did not take part in the fight and Marceli Szymanski and Kukawska said they knew nothing about what happened in the flat.
“All of these defendants deny they were part of any plan or “joint enterprise” to either rob Mr Pawlak or to cause him serious bodily harm or kill him,” said Mr Moulson.
The trial is expected to last about six weeks.