Man accused of murdering toddler admits killing him, court hears

Lukasz Czapla who allegedly murdered his son Julius offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide. 

Lukasz Czapla accused of murdering toddler Julius admits killing him in Edinburgh, court hears Police Scotland

A man who allegedly murdered his two-year-old son by repeatedly smothering him and shooting him with an air rifle has offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide. 

Lawyer Iain McSporran QC told judge Lord Beckett that Lukasz Czapla, 41, was willing to admit killing Julius in November 2020 at a house in Muirhouse, Edinburgh.

The High Court in the city heard Mr McSporran say that if prosecutors didn’t accept Czapla’s plea for culpable homicide, he’d lodge a special defence on the accused’s behalf. 

Jurors heard that this defence stated that at the time Julius died, Czapla was of “diminished responsibility” and that he should be convicted of culpable homicide and not murder. 

Prosecutor Alan Cameron then told the judge that the offer to plead guilty to culpable homicide was not acceptable to the Crown and that Czapla would have to stand trial on a murder charge.

Mr McSporran said: “My lord, I appear on behalf of the accused Lukasz Czapla. He pleads guilty in respect of the charge of culpable homicide. 

“In anticipation of that plea not being accepted, I can confirm that a special defence of diminished responsibility has been intimated. 

“He pleads guilty in respect of the remaining charges on the indictment.”

Mr Cameron then replied: “My Lord, these pleas are not acceptable to the Crown.”

The offer to plead guilty to the lesser charge came during the first day of proceedings against Czapla, who comes from Muirhouse, Edinburgh.

It came as jurors also heard the contents of a legal document which states the ten charges which Czapla faces. 

Prosecutors claim that on November 20 or November 21, 2020, at a property Muirhouse Place West, Edinburgh, Czapla assaulted Julius, who was born in May 2018, and repeatedly struck him with a skewer or “similar instrument”. 

It is also claimed that Czapla repeatedly discharged an air pistol at Julius, repeatedly shot him in the head and then placed a pillow on his face and that he did “asphyxiate him”. 

Prosecutors say that Czapla did “murder” Julius. 

The other charges being faced by Czapla include an allegation that on November 21 2020, he drove whilst breaching drink driving laws in the Edinburgh area. 

Another charge states that on the same date, Czapla consumed a “quantity of prescribed medication” and drove at excessive speeds on the A90 road in Edinburgh whilst “overtaking and undertaking” other vehicles. 

Prosecutors claim that he then failed to give way on the A90/M90 slip road which forced other vehicles to “take evasive action” to avoid colliding with his car. 

His car is then said to have collided with another vehicle. 

He is also accused of possessing drugs – including ecstasy and LSD – as well as having an air weapon.

Jurors also heard that the special defence stated that the accused was suffering from “diminished responsibility” at the time Julius died. 

The special defence stated that the diminished responsibility was “such as that he is entitled to be convicted of culpable homicide instead of murder.”

Lord Beckett also told the jurors that the trial is expected to last seven days but could also end sometime during the first week of May 2022. 

Czapla has pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

The trial continues. 

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