A murder accused told gardai in his statement that he did not know who killed his former flatmate and said it was “probably some psychopath”, a trial has heard.
The 32-year-old man who denies murdering the Polish national by stabbing him 62 times also told detectives that he was shocked to hear his friend was dead and did not know what the deceased could have done for someone to kill him. Sebastian Barczuk with an address at Briarwood Lawn, Mulhuddart, Dublin 15 has pleaded not guilty to murdering Michal Kurek (33) at a place unknown within the State between August 3rd and 4th, 2017.
The trial has heard that Mr Kurek, a homeless man with addiction difficulties, was found lying face down in the gateway of a country lane in Ballyboughal in north Co Dublin with 62 stab wounds to his body, including 25 knife wounds to his back. Former Deputy State Pathologist Dr Michael Curtis has testified that the Polish national died from “multiple stab wounds and with a contributory factor of blunt-force trauma to the head and chest”.
Giving evidence on Thursday, Garda Shane Fitzsimons told prosecution counsel Lorcan Staines SC that he arranged to take a statement from Mr Barczuk at Connolly Station on August 13th, 2017. In his statement, the accused man said he had moved to Ireland in late 2007 and lived in Ongar. He initially got a job working in construction and started studying economics in DCU in March 2008. Mr Barczuk said he met Mr Kurek when they were both delivering leaflets in May 2011. “We became friendly and I used to give him a lift home from work sometimes. When we would be talking, Michal would ask me if I wanted any cannabis or amphetamines. I found this strange but it seemed normal to him,” said the accused. Mr Barczuk also told Gda Fitzsimons that Mr Kurek later rented a room in a house that he shared and would smoke a lot of cannabis. The two men also lived together in a second house in Ongar in December 2013 but then Mr Kurek lost his job, he explained. Mr Kurek moved out of the house in 2015.
Mr Barczuk said that Mr Kurek always wore the same clothes and looked homeless. The accused said he got a phone call from his friend in January 2017 saying that he was “in trouble” and in hospital. He said Mr Kurek told him that “everyone knew him and were following him” [sic]. Mr Barcuzk said he used to see Mr Kurek randomly and knew he slept homeless on Moore Street and in Mulhuddart Park. “About four or five months ago I saw Michal and he said he after scared someone [sic]. Then two or three guys beat him up,” he said. The accused also told the witness that he got a call from Mr Kurek two weeks prior to August 13th and he met him at Clonsilla train station. “He said he after getting big money and was moving back to Germany. This was the last time I saw him. I didn’t speak on the phone to him,” he said.
Lot of enemies
Detective Garda Nicky Duane of Balbriggan Garda Station said he took another statement from Mr Barcuzk at Ballymun Garda Station on August 20th, 2017. Mr Barcuzk said he last saw Mr Kurek, who was afraid at the time to go into the city centre, four or five weeks previously. The accused told the detective that he knew Mr Kurek had a lot of enemies and did not know whether he had a drug debt. He said he last spoke to the deceased on the phone at the end of July. When Mr Barcuzk was asked by detectives if he knew who had killed Mr Kurek, he replied: “I don’t know. If I knew I would tell you. Probably some psychopath”. The accused said he had “no idea” why his friend was killed saying, “maybe he had debts”. The accused agreed with the detective that six calls were made between his phone and Mr Kurek’s phone on August 3 between 1pm and 9.39pm. Det Gda Duane asked the accused if there was anything about his friend’s death which he would like to tell him. In reply, Mr Barcuzk said: “No, it was a shock for me when [a named person] called me. I really don’t know what he could have done for someone to kill him.”
Detective Sergeant Michael Ryan testified that he requested call data records belonging to Mr Kurek’s phone, which was found in the front pocket of his jeans as he lay in the gateway at Ballyboughal, from July 20th to August 4th, 2017. Det Sgt Ryan said he conducted a spreadsheet of the phone contacts between the accused and the deceased between 8pm and 2am on August 3rd. The jury heard evidence of calls made between the two men on August 3 as well as cell site analysis. Earlier, community welfare officer Stephen Swords told Mr Staines that he was working in the Department of Social Protection office on Upper Gardiner Street, Dublin 1 in August 2017. Mr Swords said he was familiar with Mr Kurek coming into the office and had met him on August 3rd, when he collected his payment for a number of weeks. “I had dealt with him four or five times and he was very personable and pleasant to deal with”, he added.
In his opening address, Mr Staines told the Central Criminal Court jury that this was a circumstantial case and ultimately the question for them was “who did it” and not whether the deceased was murdered or not. Counsel said the prosecution cannot say where or why Mr Kurek was murdered and a murder weapon was never recovered.
The trial continues tomorrow before Mr Justice Tony Hunt and a jury of seven men and five women. READ MOREHomeless man found dead on a Dublin laneway was stabbed 62 times