Wednesday, September 16, 2020

By Paul Neilan

Dr Curtis attended the scene at the laneway at The Grange area of Ballyboughal, on the afternoon of August 8th, after a body of a male had been discovered by a cyclist that morning lying next to a gateway.. Photo: Collins

A homeless man died after suffering 62 stab injuries, including 25 knife wounds to his back, a Central Criminal Court murder trial heard on Wednesday/

Former Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis said in evidence this morning that Polish national Mr Michal Kurek (33) died from “multiple stab wounds and with a contributory factor of blunt-force trauma to the head and chest” in August 2017.

Sebastian Barczuk (32), with an address at Briarwood Lawn, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15, who is also a Polish national, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Kurek (33), his former housemate, at a place unknown within the State between August 3rd and 4th, 2017.

Dr Curtis told Mr Lorcan Staines SC, prosecuting, that he did not believe that anything other than Mr Kurek’s physical injuries caused his death, saying that the blunt-force trauma and stab injuries to Mr Kurek’s head, chest, back and legs were “overwhelmingly” the cause of death.

Dr Curtis attended the scene at the laneway at The Grange area of Ballyboughal, on the afternoon of August 8th, after a body of a male had been discovered by a cyclist that morning lying next to a gateway.

Clutching blades of grass

Dr Curtis told Mr Staines that the body was cold to the touch and was lying face down on a grass verge. The deceased had been wearing a black hooded top while his jeans were pulled down to the level of the upper thigh, exposing a pair of boxer shorts.

Detailing his report, Dr Curtis said that multiple stab wounds were discovered on the arms, torso, back, legs and buttocks.

Mr Staines was told by Dr Curtis that Mr Kurek’s clothes were bloodied and had grass on them and that the deceased was tightly clutching blades of grass in his left hand. He said Mr Kurek’s clothes had defects on them consistent with knife wounds to the front and back of his body.

Mr Kurek’s wounds, he said, were consistent with a “single-blade knife” and that the main concentration of wounds were on Mr Kurek’s back where 25 stab injuries of angled at various directions were located.

Mr Kurek’s jeans were blood-stained and his legs had been stained blue by the dye in his jeans, said Dr Curtis, who added that Mr Kurek’s arms were flexed across his chest.

Cannabis

Dr Curtis said that a lighter and two “greyish blocks of material” that Dr Curtis said was suspected by gardaĆ­ of being cannabis, were also found on the body, along with paracetamol tablets.

Mr Kurek sustained seven stab wounds to his right chest cavity and 11 to his left. The cavities were penetrated through the rib-cage with a blade also causing rib fractures. He also sustained “severe injuries to both lungs, his diaphragm, liver and kidneys”, said Dr Curtis.

Marks and bruising were also found on Mr Kurek’s arms, which was indicative of him being held tightly, Dr Curtis said. There were multiple stab wounds on his upper limbs, which could be regarded as defensive type injuries, he continued.

A toxicology reported showed the presence of cannabis metabolites and of amphetamine, neither of which were contributory factors to death, Dr Curtis added.

Dr Curtis told Mr Dominic McGinn SC, defending, that he did not know much about Mr Kurek at the time of the examination but gardaĆ­ had told him that they were aware of Mr Kurek as a homeless man who abused amphetamines.

Academic ability

A polish witness told Mr Staines that he knew of the deceased from Poland, where Mr Kurek had the nickname of ‘Master’, due to his academic ability. However, the witness said that when he met Mr Kurek in Ireland that he looked “homeless and destroyed by his life” and that he “always wore the same clothes”.

“He [Mr Kurek] finished his studies and could have gotten a good job but he chose a different life,” said the witness.

Another witness, Mr Marek Zwarecz, told Mr Staines that he knew of Mr Kurek by his nickname only, that he lived with Mr Barczuk for a time, and that he saw Mr Kurek and Mr Barczuk talking outside his house in Briarwood Lawn “two or three times”.

Ms Ewa Raczka told Mr Staines that on August 2, 2017, – two days before the discovery of Mr Kurek’s body – she sold Mr Barczuk a Fiat Punto. Ms Raczka said that when he returned with the second instalment of the money he owed her on August 9, Mr Barczuk told her he had already sold on the car.

The trial continues at the Central Criminal Court before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women. It is expected to last up to four weeks.

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