Woman ‘murdered by lodger’ suffered ‘brutal attack’

A pathologist who carried out a post mortem said that injuries to her chest were the most immediately significant.

Woman ‘murdered by lodger’ suffered ‘brutal attack’ STV News

An elderly landlady who was allegedly murdered by her lodger suffered “a brutal and sustained attack”, a court has heard.

On Wednesday advocate depute Alex Prentice QC told jurors that the cause of death for 77-year-old Polish national Jadwiga Szczygielska was blunt force trauma to the chest.

The prosecutor said that a pathologist who carried out a post mortem said that injuries to her chest were the most immediately significant, but went on to state that a rupture to her heart could in isolation have accounted for her death.

Mr Prentice said: “This is trauma, a blow of such kind, of such force to rupture the heart which could of itself have caused death.”

He said consultant forensic pathologist Dr Ian Wilkinson had told the High Court in Edinburgh in his evidence that significant blunt force trauma was required to cause such an injury.

The pathologist also said that extensive rib fractures, a broken breast bone and lung injury sustained by the pensioner could also have proved fatal.

Mr Prentice was giving his closing speech at the trial of 44-year-old Roman Frackiewicz who has denied murdering Ms Szczygielska at the flat where they lived in Pirniefield Bank, Seafield, in Edinburgh on April 17 last year.

It is alleged that the Edinburgh council refuse collector assaulted her at her home and repeatedly inflicted or caused to be inflicted blunt force injuries to her head and body by means to the prosecutor unknown and murdered her.

The Polish national had lived at her flat for two years as her lodger paying her £200 a month.

Mr Prentice said: “It appears on the evidence that a substantial quantity of vodka was drunk by the accused.”

He told the jury: “There has been some sort of quarrel that night and I suggest that Roman Frackiewicz simply lost it and inflicted terrible injury upon the deceased causing her death.”

He said: “Keep in mind who is in the flat when all of this happened. Roman Frackiewicz and no one else.”

Mr Prentice asked the jury to conclude that an altercation took place in the living room, resulting in a denture plate falling to the floor and a chair being knocked over, which continued into the kitchen where the deceased was found.

He said: “The evidence does point to a brutal and sustained attack.”
Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder said his client had told the police that he had been drinking with the deceased and went to bed and got up in the morning to find his landlady dead on the kitchen floor.

Mr Gilfedder said: “The clear inference from that is he does not know what happened.”

He said that he had behaved in a way that was consistent with an innocent party.

He did not flee the scene, he did not make up “some cock and bull story”, he did not lift up an overturned chair or right a mirror, which was at an angle.

Mr Gilfedder also pointed out a neighbour Nigel Ferguson told police in an initial statement that he could hear two male voices coming from the flat.

The trial judge, Lord Braid, will give his legal directions to jurors tomorrow before they begin considering their verdict.

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