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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 19 February, 2020
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"I keep dreaming about how he was beaten and kicked" - Mother gives emotional statement as son's killers jailed

Patryk Krupa died in 2014 after being attacked.

The Garda Forensic Team comb the banks of the River Shannon in June 2014.
The Garda Forensic Team comb the banks of the River Shannon in June 2014.

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.

This morning 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 20 June, 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 21 April, a jury of four women and eight men deliberated for five hours before finding both men guilty of murdering Mr Krupa.

Statement

This 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 anymore.

“Nothing is the same anymore. 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”.

“I keep playing the day over and over again in my head, nothing will turn back the time,” she said.

Dreaming

The court heard that her son really wanted to be a father but that was taken from him.

I thought I saw my son in town the other day but that wasn’t him. Sometimes I look around to to see him but it never happens. I keep dreaming about how he was beaten and kicked and dragged into the water. The two drag marks were there for a very long time after the day.

Mrs Krupa cannot look at people when they are smiling and laughing.

“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 anymore,” 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.

Sentence

Defence counsel Sean Gillane SC told the court that his client, Mr Sychulec, is a Polish national with limited English and is a parent of a two-year-old child.

Defence counsel Conor Devally SC said his client, Mr Gruchacz, is 35 years of age and “has a mixed history” as much of his education was spent in young offenders units.

Handing down sentence, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said that this was a “shocking and violent event.”

He thanked Mrs Krupa for her “very moving victim impact statement” where her “continuing upset is obvious.”

The judge said it is a “great tragedy for a parent to lose a child” and her victim impact statement captures “the unnatural position of a parent put in that position”.

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.

Investigation

Mr Justice Hunt then complimented Inspector Aiden Minnock and his team of gardaí at Athlone Garda Station for the way they carried out “such a comprehensive investigation into this matter” as well as the gathering and presentation of the CCTV footage.

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 cooperation with the investigation but there was “very few mitigating factors beyond that”.

The judge said that in his opinion the evidence was “particularly clear in one case” and “very clear in another”.

Mr Justice Hunt then 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.

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About the author:

Alison O'Riordan

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