A lodger who brutally murdered his elderly landlady in a sustained attack that ruptured her heart is facing life imprisonment.
Roman Frackiewicz, 44, assaulted his 77-year-old victim in her home, leaving her with 14 fractured ribs, a broken breastbone and collapsed lungs after drinking vodka.
Jadwiga Szczygielska let him stay at her flat after he was convicted of a domestic assault in 2018 and a court imposed a non-harassment order preventing him contacting the victim of the attack.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard the priest at Mrs Szczygielska’s church asked her to take him in.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told the court: “She gave him her bedroom and extended great kindness towards him.”
But on April 17 last year, Frackiewicz attacked Mrs Szczygielska at her Edinburgh home in Pirniefield Bank, Seafield.
Mrs Szczygielska came to Scotland from Poland in 2013 to live with her son. He had a workplace accident and returned to Poland but she stayed on in Scotland where she had made many friends.
She continued to work as a childminder and sent money back to her family in Poland.
Mr Prentice said her son, Krzysztof, “indicated he could not find words to express how this terrible crime affects his life and his family, observing that this traumatic event will be with him for the rest of his life”.
Mr Prentice told jurors that Edinburgh council refuse collector Frackiewicz had consumed a “substantial amount of vodka” before attacking Mrs Szczygielska after a quarrel broke out.
The court heard the injuries suffered by the victim were of a type found in serious road traffic collisions.
The jury was told that the rupture to her heart could have proved fatal, but that the fractures and lung injury she suffered could also have killed her.
Mr Prentice said: “The Crown is unable to specify precisely what was done to her because there were only two people in that flat when those injuries were sustained. The accused himself said nobody came to the flat.”
Frackiewicz, who is also a Polish national, came to the UK in 2012 and after moving in with his victim paid her £200 a month while he slept in the bedroom at the flat and she bedded down on a sofa.
He had denied murdering Mrs Szczygielska by repeatedly inflicting or causing to be inflicted blunt force injuries to her head and body by means to the prosecutor unknown. However, he was unanimously convicted of the murder by the jury.
The morning after the crime he contacted an employee with a community alarm service and said he needed an ambulance as he thought she was dead.
He phoned an acquaintance and said: “Jadwiga has passed away.” He later claimed it was “probably a heart attack”.
Following the verdict on Thursday, Lord Braid told him: “You have been convicted by the jury of the crime of murder and there will be only one sentence which I can impose, which is life imprisonment.”
However, Lord Braid adjourned sentencing on Frackiewicz until next month for the preparation of a background report as he has to set the minimum term the murderer must serve in jail before he becomes eligible to apply for release on parole.
Frackiewicz, who has two previous convictions for assault, was remanded in custody until his next appearance at the High Court in Aberdeen on February 18.
The judge told jurors that some of the evidence in the trial was “disturbing to hear and to look at”.
Following Frackiewicz’s conviction, detective inspector Bob Williamson said: “Jadwiga Szczygielska was a generous and caring woman who was well liked within the community.
“She allowed Roman Frackiewicz to stay in her home at a time when he had nowhere else to live.
“Frackiewicz repaid Jadwiga by taking advantage of her within her own home and abusing her kindness.
“We will never know why he chose to attack her that night but his actions were violent, brutal and cruel resulting in the catastrophic injuries suffered by Jadwiga.
“He left her to die on her kitchen floor while he went to his bed.
“This guilty verdict will never bring Jadwiga back but I sincerely hope it will bring some sense of justice to her family.”
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