A man who allegedly murdered his toddler son was motivated in his actions by “anger” and “jealousy” towards the child’s mother, a court has heard.
Prosecutor Alan Cameron told jurors on Tuesday that Lukasz Czapla, 41, killed two-year-old Julius to “get back” at and “hurt” his former partner Patrycja Szczesniak after discovering she had started a new relationship.
He was making submissions in the trial of Mr Czapla, of Muirhouse, Edinburgh, who has admitted to being responsible for the culpable homicide of Julius but denies murdering the child.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard Mr Czapla sent a series of text messages to Patrycja on the night Julius died at a house in the city in November 2020.
The jury heard that in the messages, Mr Czapla asked Patrycja about her new partner and her sex life. But she didn’t answer the questions.
In his closing speech to jurors, Mr Cameron spoke of evidence given by Mr Czapla earlier in his trial in which he said he decided to kill Julius for altruistic reasons.
Mr Czapla’s lawyers claim that this and other evidence shows that the accused didn’t murder Julius but was in fact responsible for his culpable homicide – as he was allegedly of diminished responsibility at the time.
However, Mr Cameron said the evidence before the jury showed a different reason for why Mr Czapla killed Julius and that he was motivated by anger and jealousy.
Urging jurors to convict Mr Czapla or murder, Mr Cameron made reference to evidence given to court by consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Alex Quinn who said he believed that Mr Czapla’s actions were a “narcissistic and entitled” act.
He also made reference to evidence given to court by Mr Czapla’s friend Wojciech Marchlewski, 41 and to evidence given by consultant psychiatrist Deborah Mountain.
Mr Cameron said: “The accused sent four separate messages during the course of ten minutes in which he asked her about her sex life and with reference to a graphic sexual act.
“Again, I suggest that what really set him off that night, what p***ed him off, what infuriated him to use his own language was her refusal to answer questions about her new partner and their sex life – not about her son at all.
“All these factors, I suggest point away from the altruistic motive and towards the alternative put forward by Dr Quinn – that of revenge and jealously.
“You will remember Dr Mountain’s evidence that the accused seemed more distressed when speaking about his own future
“Against a background of obsession about his ex partner’s supposed infidelity and made furious by her mention of a new partner and refusal to discuss him or her sex life with him, the accused voluntarily consumed alcohol and drugs.
“In that condition his impulse control was lowered and he acted upon his emotions and anger and jealously and killed his son as a way to get back at her, to surprise her as he described it to Mr Marchlewski
“He was motivated not by some misplaced altruism but rather than jealously and anger towards his ex partner.
“He was furious with his ex partner who had told him about her new partner and refused to answer his sexual questions.
“He took pills and a significant amount of alcohol which removed the control that he had over his impulses and in a fit of anger and spite killed his to get back at and hurt his former partner.
“That he may deeply regret it now is of no moment. All that matters is that he did it.”
In his closing speech to the jury, Mr Cameron made reference to Mr Czapla’s evidence that he was concerned about Patrycja mistreating Julius following the couple’s split in June 2020.
He said the jury heard evidence which showed that Mr Czapla had complimented his former partner’s parenting skills.
Mr Cameron also told the jury that they may conclude that the accused’s claims of diminished responsibility were a “tactical ploy” to minimise his punishment.
He added: “I suggest there is a significant body of evidence to suggest that they had been heavily exaggerated by him if not completely made up to give some support to his claims of diminished responsibility.
“I suggest that you might conclude that he had few if any genuinely held concerns at the time he killed Julius and his increasing emphasis on this as time has gone on is nothing more than a tactical ploy to minimise his punishment.”
He also urged jurors to consider Dr Quinn’s assessment of Mr Czapla in their deliberations.
Mr Cameron added: “Dr Quinn said there was evidence to support an alternative scenario that the killing of his son was a narcissistic and entitled act and that the predisposing factors was that his failed relationship, his obessionality with regards to his ex partner’s sexual activity and a wish to retaliate with the hurt which she has caused him – he wanted to surprise her in the words he used in his conversation with Mr March in the weeks prior to the killing.
“That is what I suggest the evidence in this case demonstrates is the true motivation of his actions – Dr Quinn said he used the word ‘narccissistic’ meaning that the accused’s thinking and explanations all returned to him.
“You may think that the evidence reflects in all sorts of ways a self centred world view on the part of the accused.
“Dr Quinn said that during his interviews with him in December 2020 he seemed convinced of the supposed infidelities of his former partner in a manner which was poorly evidenced and paranoid.
“He said the accused had appeared fixated on Patrycja’s sexual behaviours and repeatedly returned to the subject of her sexual appetite and a specific sexual act which he said she had wanted to engage in and that he did not.
“Dr Quinn said this appeared incongruous during conversations centred around the death of his son and his role in that.”
Defence solicitor advocate Iain McSporran QC urged jurors to convict his client on the culpable homicide charge.
He said he did not seek the jury’s “sympathy” for his client. Speaking about Patrycja, Mr McSporran added: “How can Earth can she ever hope to recover from the loss which she has suffered in the circumstances?”
But he added that the evidence in the case showed that Mr Czapla was guilty of culpable homicide.
He added: “You should return a verdict of guilty and a verdict of culpable homicide even if it goes against the grain. Even if sticks in your throat. Even if you do so with regret and reluctance.
“You should return that verdict because by doing that you have complied with the oath or the affirmation you made at the outset to return a true verdict according to the evidence.”
Czapla is accused of murdering his son at his house in Muirhouse, Edinburgh, on November 20 or 21 2020 by assaulting him and repeatedly striking him on the body with a skewer, repeatedly discharging an air pistol at him and repeatedly shooting him in the head and placing a pillow on his face and asphyxiating the child.
He pleaded guilty to culpable homicide – but prosecutors rejected the plea at the start of proceedings.
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