Murder trial hears from brother of the deceased
A jury at a murder trial has heard from a man who discovered his brother's battered body surrounded by smashed furniture and blood.
Tomasz Michalkiewicz, a Polish national living in Donegal, told prosecuting counsel Alex Owens SC that his brother, Bogdan Michalkiewicz (41), had not answered his phone for a couple of days so he went to his apartment to check on him.
As he opened the door to the living room he immediately knew something was wrong. "I saw him straight away, lying down in the middle of the room. When I saw him I knew straight away he was dead. He was in terrible shape, his face was all smashed and he was nearly naked."
He said the furniture, including a television, had all been smashed, the dining table was broken and there was "blood everywhere".
Mr Michalkiewicz was giving evidence at the trial of Dariusz Weckowicz (51), and Krzystof Grzegorski (22). Both men are accused of the murder of Bogdan Michalkiewicz on May 13, 2013 at Westside Apartments in Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
Mr Grzegorski has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to manslaughter. The plea was not accepted by the State. Mr Weckowicz has pleaded not (NOT) guilty to murder.
Mr Michalkiewicz said he and his brother moved to Ireland in 2005 and for a few years Bogdan worked in landscaping. A back injury forced him out of work and he couldn't walk without a crutch. He began drinking heavily. "Once he got money he would start to drink straight away," he said.
He said the last time he had spoken to his brother was when Bogdan called him on the phone and asked him to get vodka for him. He refused, telling Mr Owens that ever since he realised his brother had a problem with drink, he would not buy him alcohol.
When his brother called him he was annoyed because he wanted him to stop drinking. Bogdan had a hospital appointment coming up and Tomasz feared that he would miss it due to drunkenness.
The court also heard from Dariusz Miraszewski, who lived in the nearby Riverside Apartments in May 2013. He knew Bogdan and the two accused. He told Mr Owens that he spoke with the accused man Dariusz Weckowicz some time after the body had been found and told him that Bogdan had been killed. He said Mr Weckowicz responded:
"I think it was not me."
Speaking to defence counsel for Mr Weckowicz, Brendan Grehan SC, he agreed that he took that statement as being sarcastic and typical of the kind of thing Mr Weckowicz would say.
He also recalled that Mr Weckowicz at that time had no home and was a heavy drinker. He said he would sleep wherever he could and that he was a "nuisance" when drunk.
Mr Grehan said: "He would just drink and pass out and you would be stuck with him," and he replied "yes".
He also recalled that around the time of the alleged attack, Bogdan had called him and asked him to remove "Wecko" from his apartment because he was drunk. Mr
Miraszewski could not do it because he was about to take a shower but he said two other men went to remove him.
He later told gardai that he heard Mr Weckowicz talking outside and presumed he had been removed from the apartment. He also agreed with Mr Grehan that Mr Weckowicz is not a violent man, saying "no, he could hardly walk himself." He agreed that he was frailer then than he is now and that all he ever wanted to do was drink.
Mr Grehan read from a statement that Mr Miraszewski gave to gardai in the days following the killing in which he described Mr Weckowicz as "dirty and unpleasant" and said that he would not let him into his apartment.
Claire Friel lived in the apartment above Mr Michalkiewicz with her boyfriend Nicholas Mulvaney in 2013.
She told Mr Owens that on the afternoon of Monday April 13 she was watching television shows on a computer with Mr Mulvaney when she heard raised voices and what sounded like furniture being moved around.
She said Bogdan's apartment was the only other one in their block that was occupied so she assumed the noise came from there. However, she did not think much of it and did not investigate further.
Mr Mulvaney agreed with counsel for Mr Grzegorski, Michael Bowman SC, that he told gardai in a statement that he had heard the noise, loud voices and furniture moving, at about 2pm or 3pm that afternoon.
He said that it seemed to him it could just have been people moving furniture and speaking in loud voices as they did so, and so he did not feel compelled to find out more.
The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy and a jury of eight men and four women.