Life sentence for killer who murdered stranger in pub toilet

Stefan McCormack, 33, punched, kicked and stamped on Rafal Sieja in the Black Bull bar in Lockerbie in July 2019.

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A killer who murdered a stranger in a pub toilet has been jailed for a minimum of 16 years.

Stefan McCormack, 33, punched, kicked and stamped on Rafal Sieja in the Black Bull bar in Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, on July 5, 2019.

McCormack had earlier been told by a friend that Mr Sieja, also 33, was suspected of a crime in the local area.

Seconds after the beating, CCTV captured McCormack coming back to his friends, casually having a drink of his lager and then leaving the pub.

The victim was eventually found stricken in the toilet before dying in hospital three weeks later.

McCormack was given a life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow on Wednesday having earlier been convicted of murder.

Lord Fairley told him: “This was a man, who, prior to these events, was barely known to you.

“You have deprived his family of what would have been many more years of his life.

“Mr Sieja was simply enjoying a night out. You, having been motivated by unsubstantiated gossip, confronted him in the toilet and attacked him with such violence.

“It has been noted (in a pre-sentencing report) at no stage did you express any empathy for Mr Sieja or about his death.”

McCormack – who had convictions for theft, housebreaking and domestic violence – waved to family as he was led to the cells.

Jurors heard how McCormack, also of Lockerbie, had been at the pub along with David Barrett.

McCormack did not know Mr Sieja, but had clocked his friend talking to him that night.

McCormack later asked who Mr Sieja was before being told by Mr Barrett the man had been “accused” of an offence.

McCormack went on to quiz bar staff why the victim – nicknamed Jedi – was being served.

The killer was later spotted going to the toilet. Mr Sieja went in soon after.

It was there McCormack battered Mr Sieja, leaving him helpless on the ground.

Mr Barrett gave evidence during the trial and was shown CCTV of his friend returning from the toilet.

Asked what it showed, the witness said: “He came to the bar, picked up his pint, had a swig, put it down and then left.”

McCormack phoned Mr Barrett to check on Mr Sieja.

He was said to have stated at one point: “Oh s***, I must have done him right in.”

But it was later before the alarm was raised and the victim was rushed to hospital.

He was initially in a coma, but passed away on July 27 from a serious head injury.

The trial was told McCormack had confronted Mr Sieja about the alleged crime, gave him a “couple of slaps” then “lost it”.

He was also said to have later told his mum that he had “hit the boy a few times”.

But, in the court, he told his QC Thomas Ross, Mr Sieja had been aggressive to him and he had pushed him to get out the toilet.

Lord Fairley branded his claims as “implausible and self serving”.

Detective inspector Dean Little, of Dumfries CID said: “The sentencing of Stefan McCormack will hopefully provide the family of Rafal Sieja with some closure.

“This was an unprovoked attack from an individual which led to a man losing his life.

“Stefan will now have to face the consequences of his actions and this sentence shows the commitment of Police Scotland to bringing criminals of this nature to justice.

“I would like to thank the public for their assistance with this investigation.”

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