A childhood friend of a man accused of murdering his toddler son has told how a court how his pal ‘joked’ about killing the child.
Wojciech Marchlewski, 41, told a jury how Lukasz Czapla, also 41, laughed after making the remark about his two-year-old son Julius.
On Monday, the High Court in Edinburgh heard Mr Marchlewski say he met with Mr Czapla in November 2020.
The taxi driver told the court that Mr Czapla told him that he had split from the boy’s mother Patrycja Szczesniak.
Mr Marchlewski said his friend told him that Patrycja wasn’t a “good mother” and that she had become involved with somebody else.
He said that his friend was “stressed” during the chat in which he revealed that he loved Julius “so much”.
Mr Marchlewski, of Edinburgh, then told prosecutor Alan Cameron that Mr Czapla then made a joke during the conversation.
The witness told the court: “He joked about killing Julius. He laughed at the end of it.
“I said ‘it’s an extremely bad joke’.
“I felt so awkward but at the same time it didn’t surprise me because Lukasz used to joke like this.”
“I said ‘it’s not funny. It’s a bad joke.’
“He acknowledged it saying ‘I know’.”
Mr Marchlewski was giving evidence on the third day of proceedings against Mr Czapla, also of Edinburgh.
The accused denies murdering Julius at a house in the city’s Muirhouse area, sometime on November 20 or November 21, 2020 and other charges.
On Monday, Mr Marchlewski told the court that he had known the accused since childhood.
He said they had moved from Poland and had both come to live in Edinburgh in 2005.
Mr Marchlewski said they hadn’t continually stayed in touch with each other. But they met up sometime in November 2020 and drank beer at Mr Czapla’s home in the Scottish capital.
The witness told the court that Mr Czapla told him that Patrycja had left him.
Mr Marchlewski said: “He said that she’s got someone new and that she’s taking Julius away.
“He said that he loves Julius so much and he had some plans.”
Mr Marchlewski told jurors that he asked Mr Czapla what his plans were and that he replied that “kidnap doesn’t make sense”.
The witness then told the court that Mr Czapla then made a joke about killing his son.
Mr Marchlewski told the court that he tried to “cheer” Mr Czapla up.
He added: “I tried to cheer him up.I tried to help him out. I said he could get help from somewhere.
“He got his rights as his dad. He doesn’t need to be so sad about things.”
“I said things can get brighter and so on. He needs to start working and so on.”
Mr Czapla is accused of murdering his son on November 20 or 21 in 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.
The former IT technician at Fife College in Dunfermline offered a guilty plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide, but that was rejected by the Crown.
The jury heard in agreed evidence that on the evening of November 20 or in the morning of the following day that Czapla killed his son at his flat in Edinburgh.
His lawyers have also lodged a special defence which says that at the time Julius died, he was of “diminished responsibility”
The special defence states that Mr Czapla’s diminished responsibility was such that “he is entitled to be convicted of culpable homicide instead of murder.”
The trial before Lord Beckett continues.