Murder accused 'texted ex-partner he would kill himself and their child'

Lukasz Czapla is on trial accused of murdering his two-year-old son Julius in November 2020.

Lukasz Czapla ‘sent text message to ex-partner threatening to kill himself and son Julius’ Police Scotland

The former partner of a man accused of murdering their two-year-old son found a message on her phone that left her fearing he would kill himself and the child, a court has heard. 

Patrycja Szcześniak said she drove straight to the flat of Lukasz Czapla after she discovered the text message he had sent her after she had earlier dropped off Julius to stay with his father.

After knocking on the door she saw her former partner staggering and bloody after looking through a letterbox.

She told the High Court in Edinburgh: “When I saw him covered in blood I started shouting and kicking the door.”

Ms Szczesniak told police that when she got into the property she asked Czapla where Julius was and he indicated a bedroom.

She said her son was on a bed in the room. “His head was covered in blood and his face was blue. I knew he was dead,” she said.

Ms Szczesniak said she managed to get out the door of the flat and shouted to a neighbour to call the police saying: “He has killed Julius.”

The hairdresser said she had met Czapla as he was a neighbour in the Muirhouse area of Edinburgh and they had a relationship for eight years and lived together with their son.

But she said that during lockdown in March 2020 they were arguing more and more and the couple separated in June, with Julius going to stay with his father every second weekend.

She said that Czapla found out she was seeing another man and was not happy about it and her former partner told her he had been to the doctor and was given tablets for depression.

She said she never had concerns about Julius going to stay with his father and told detectives: “I have never had any concerns as to the safety of Julius when he is with his dad.”

She went to Czapla’s home in Muirhouse Place West on November 20, 2020 to drop her son off with his father and said her former partner seemed “fine, normal”. She said her son was excited as he was to get pizza.

“Julius was happy to go with his dad as was Lukasz to have him,” she told police in a statement that was read to jurors by advocate depute Alan Cameron. Ms Szczesniak was aged 32 when she gave the statement in November 2020. 

She returned home after dropping the toddler off and the following morning turned the flight mode off on her iPhone and saw a text that had earlier been sent by Czapla. She could not remember the exact wording but “that he meant he would kill himself and Julius”.

The court heard that she had not responded to earlier messages Czapla sent her asking about her sex life.

Czapla, 41, is accused of murdering Julius Czapla on November 20 or 21, 2020 at his home by assaulting him by repeatedly striking him with a skewer on the body and repeatedly discharging an air pistol at him and repeatedly shooting him on the head and placing a pillow on his face and asphyxiating him.

The former IT technician at Fife College in Dunfermline offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide over the killing of his son, which was not accepted by the Crown. He has lodged a special defence of diminished responsibility.

The jury heard in agreed evidence that on the evening of November 20 or the morning of the following day at the flat in Muirhouse that Czapla killed his son. Police and paramedics were called and a paramedic found the child to be “obviously dead”.

A post mortem was carried out on the toddler and three steel ball bearings were found in underlying tissue of his head which had caused bleeding and a fractured skull. There were wounds to the child’s left temple caused by the discharge of a ball bearing gun.

He had also suffered a stab wound to the chest and pathologists found signs that were consistent with suffocation.

It was also agreed that during police searches at the flat mushrooms containing Psilocin were found along with LSD, ecstasy and cannabis.

The trial before Lord Beckett continues.

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