Witness says he kicked accused minutes before knife killing

Vallence and McGrath
Vallence and McGrath

A witness at a murder trial said that he kicked the accused man in the chest and left him unconscious minutes before the knife attack that left one man dead.

Filip Talaj said the accused, Andrzej Wawrzyniak, attacked him with a knife and cut him several times. Under cross examination, Mr Talaj told defence Counsel Michael Bowman SC that he escaped his attacker after kicking him in the chest.

"I think he went unconscious," he said. "And I found a dark place to hide."

Mr Talaj said that from his hiding place he could hear Mr Wawrzyniak looking for him. The prosecution alleges that during this time Mr Wawrzyniak used a knife to murder another man who was sleeping in the makeshift squat that had been occupied by a group of five Polish people.

Andrzej Wawrzyniak (38), with no fixed address, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Jacek Kozakiewicz (44), at the derelict pub Vallence and McGrath on Dublin's North Wall Quay on February 26, 2014.

Mr Wawrzyniak pleaded guilty to a second count of assault causing harm to Filip Talaj (31), at the same place on the same date.

Today the trial heard from the other people who lived at the squat at the time. Dariusz Wantura told prosecuting counsel John Quirke BL that he had moved into the squat with his partner Bernadeta Dang about two months earlier.

He said Jacek, an electrician, had wired the place so that they had heating and a kitchen. "It was a good place to live," he said. 

Jacek was in charge of the squat and decided who could live there. He had one rule: that they should only enter and leave at night so as not to be seen.

Under cross examination Mr Wantura said that he knew Jacek had convictions for violent offences, but that he was a "nice person".

When Mr Bowman said that he could not have been nice to everyone if he has convictions for violence Mr Wantura replied: "I also have convictions in Poland and I am nice."

Bernadetta Dang told prosecuting counsel Dominic McGinn SC that she moved into the squat with Mr Wantura around Christmas time.

She said that all five occupants of the squat had been drinking together but that she and Mr Wantura wanted to sleep so the others went to a different room.

Later that night she arose to go to the toilet and as she passed the kitchen she heard Jacek and Mr Wawrzyniak shouting.

She went back to bed and the next thing she remembers was being awoken by gardai.

The trial continues tomorrow in front of Justice Robert Eagar and a jury of nine men and three women.