A Polish man was today convicted of murdering a fellow countryman by choking him with a vest before dumping his body in a field.
Lukasz Stachura, 40, went by the nickname Pompa meaning ’Pumped’, because he worked out and boxed.
He had told a friend he did not like Kamil Leszczynski, who was described as a quiet man who never looked for trouble.
Luton crown court heard the 33-year-old’s body was found in a ditch at Valley View Farm near the village of Carlton in north Bedfordshire on 1 July last year.
The former shoe warehouse worker 33-year-old had been living 11 miles away in Wellingborough.
Prosecutor Eloise Marshall QC said he died from having his airways blocked by the gag. His wrists had been bound by a phone cable.
She said the gag had been made from a knotted vest that was found to contain Stachura’s DNA.
Ms Marshall said: “Mr Stachura murdered Kamil Leszczynski and deposited his body where it was found some days later.
“A pathologist indicated his airway had been obstructed by a gag which had forced his tongue back. A head injury suggested he may have been unconscious either prior to or at the time the gag was put in his mouth.”
Stachura, of Gold Street, Wellingborough, who ran a cleaning and odd job company, pleaded not guilty to murdering Kamil Leszczynski between 26 June and 2 July last year but was found guilty by the jury.
The prosecutor said the dead man had been seen on CCTV in Wellingborough at 8pm on 27 June and he made his last phone call at eighteen minutes past eight that evening.
Stachura’s DNA was also found on clothing worn by the victim. Grass and leaves from the area where the body was discovered on his red Vauxhall Astra.
CCTV from the Emmaus Village Shop in Carlton showed a car that matched the defendant’s travelling along the road.
The jury heard Kamil Leszczynski was described as a quiet man who never looked for trouble. He had been living in a house of multi-occupancy.
He had worked in a shoe warehouse, but at the time he died was not working and was known as a member of Wellingborough’s street drinking community.
The defendant had told a friend he did not like the victim.
On the day before he disappeared, the defendant and the victim had been seen outside a shop in Wellingborough. “He (Stachura) was seen to be violent and aggressive towards him,” said the prosecutor.
In the witness box, Lukasz Stachura said he had never had an argument with Kamil Leszczynski who he knew by sight in Wellingborough.
He said he was born in Oliwa, Poland and said he came to the UK in 2004 when he was aged 21.
He worked on a building site as a fire protection officer for 7 years and then in a warehouse and factory. In 2015 he set up a company called: “Here to Help”, cleaning houses and working in gardens.
He said his nickname was Pompa, meaning pump in Polish, referring to the fact he worked out.
The father-of-two said he knew the victim by sight from when he (Stachura) was delivering food for a kebab shop.
He said: “I saw him when I was delivering food and a few times I spoke to him. We have never been together for so long to have an argument.”
In the witness box, he said he had spent the time of the murder drinking with a friend saying: “I don’t know how much I had drunk, but it was a lot. It was beer mostly. From what I remember there might have been a bottle of whisky.”
After drinking on the Saturday and Sunday he stayed at home and did not leave until the Monday.
After the verdict, Judge Lynn Tayton QC remanded Stachura in custody. He will be sentenced sometime after 22 April.
She told him: “The jury found you guilty of murder. There is only one sentence I can impose. That is a life sentence.”
The judge adjourned the case for the prosecuting and defence to prepare sentencing notes before she decides on the minimum term he can serve before being considered for parole.
She commended the officers in the case for their investigation.
Reporting by South Beds News Agency
Edited by Paul Hutchinson for the Bedford Independent