Two Poles sentenced to life imprisonment acquitted by an English court. This is an unprecedented sentence. The men were serving a sentence for the murder of a colleague. The real perpetrator is still at large. The findings of the journalists of “Supervisor” TVN played a significant role in this matter.
This is a phenomenon in the history of the British judiciary. The point is not only that the emigrants convicted of murdering another emigrant were acquitted. It is also important that the life sentence was revoked.
– The jury in the London court was unanimous. Patryk Pachecka is innocent – says clearly satisfied Siobhan Gray, a lawyer from the prestigious law firm Libertas Chambers in London, a defense attorney for the Pole. – It was a long and difficult fight, but justice won. The truth is out. Thanks to the information from the reportage of journalists from “Supervisor” TVN, we were able to cancel the sentence for murder. I believe that the role of the media in cases where there has been a court error is necessary – emphasizes the lawyer.
Gray, with a team of lawyers, has been dealing with Patryk Pachecki’s case for four years without remuneration. Together with Grzegorz Szal, he was accused of the murder of Grzegorz Pietrycki in the London district of Wood Green in August 2016. A jury at the Central Criminal Court in London then found them guilty of murder. In 2020, the appellate court of Great Britain recognized the appeal of the defense and annulled the sentences of Poles.
– Now we are focusing on sending Mr. Pachecki home. We received help in this matter from the Polish Consulate in London. After four years in prison for a crime he did not commit, it is high time he returned to his family, adds Gray.
In the first trial of Pietrycki’s murder, a third Pole, Grzegorz G., was also accused of murdering Pietrycki, according to the other accused and witnesses.
However, the jury found G. to be innocent. This verdict was influenced by, among others information that Grzegorz G. has not been punished earlier. This is important because both Pachecka and Szal had sentences for crimes committed in Poland.
Journalists of “Supervisor”, however, discovered information that Grzegorz G. also had conflicts with the law. He was convicted of taking part in a robbery. This information, however, did not reach the London court. After the reportage “Fourth man” in “Supervisor”, the defenders of Poles wrote about it in the appeal.
Grzegorz G. was already free then. There are many indications that he escaped from the British Isles.
Murder in the “Polish Quarter”
Patryk Pachecka and Grzegorz Pietrycki lived in London in the Wood Green district and worked part-time. On August 23, 2016, at night, two more Poles came to their apartment: Grzegorz Szal and Grzegorz G. The former was a friend of Pachecki, they knew each other from the Tri-City.
Pachecka and Szal – importantly – had an uninteresting criminal past. Pachecka was in prison for robbery and was suspected of drug trafficking, Szal spent several years in prisons, including for robbery, fraud and drugs.
Grzegorz G. had been appearing in the Poles’ apartment for two days, because he had broken up with the girl who had thrown him out of the house. According to witnesses, he was agitated and nervous at that time, and he was also supposed to take drugs.
The evening of August 23, 2016, Szal and G. spent in the former’s apartment. Around four in the morning, they went to the other Poles’ apartment, where Grzegorz G. stayed overnight. At that time, Grzegorz Pietrycki and Patryk Pachecka were in the room. Pietrycki was asleep. Pachecka testified that he himself was sitting in front of the computer at that time. He couldn’t sleep because of the heat.
Grzegorz G. entered the room through the window, and Shal remained outside. After a while, Pachecka called Szal to his apartment, claiming that Grzegorz G. was aggressive towards Pietrycki.
What happened next determined the fate of all four.
Pietrycki recorded on the recording
Pachecki’s version shows that he left the room for a moment, and when he returned, Grzegorz G. struggled with Pietrycki, and the room was in his blood. He ran out of the house and began to run away. The Shaw also rushed to flee. Security cameras recorded the escapees.
Still other Poles slept in the house. They were awakened by screams, and when they opened the door to the room where Pietrycki lived, they saw Grzegorz G. agitated and agitated. They got back together and called the police. When they made sure that Grzegorz G. had left, they looked into the room. They saw blood in the room.
Less than half a minute after Pachecka and Szal fled the house, the camera registered Grzegorz Pietrycki running in the opposite direction. He was only in shorts and a T-shirt, he was running barefoot. Moments later, according to the police, Grzegorz G. was following him, probably holding an object in his right hand. Perhaps a knife.
This is the only recording of both men that night.
“There are no traces of blood on Pachecka. He is not injured and he has no guns.”
What happened next are only guesses: a few minutes after the attack to the house located several dozen meters away, the wounded Pietrycki was banging on. The frightened owner of the house did not open the door and called an ambulance. At that time, the Pole bled to death. To this day, it is not clear whether the fatal wound of the carotid artery was inflicted at home or at the door of the Englishman, whether it was inflicted by Grzegorz G. and what happened to the murder weapon.
Grzegorz Szal and Patryk Pachecka claim that neither of them saw the knife attack on Grzegorz Pietrycki.
The shawl came home. Pachecka wandered around the neighborhood for some time, returned home, then went to the store, bought cigarettes. On the way, a police patrol stopped him and wrote down his details. – The most important thing about the police report is that there are no traces of blood on Pacheck. He’s not injured and he doesn’t have a gun, Gray pointed out.
The next day, the police question Pachecka and Szala. They both lie – and then, during subsequent interrogations, they change versions of events several times. At first, they claimed they were not home at the time of the murder. These contradictory testimonies then influenced their fate. They told the journalists of “Supervisor” that they were not telling the truth because “they did not want to sell their friend to the police”. This friend is Grzegorz G.
When they realized that they would answer for Pietrycki’s murder, it was too late. And this despite the fact that the English police found Grzegorz G. after a few months, he lived 135 kilometers from London, he changed his telephone number and identity. An ex-girlfriend was helping him. She was then convicted of giving false testimony.
The detained Grzegorz G. refused to provide explanations. He did not confess to anything. Nevertheless, he was accused of participation in the murder, along with Szal and Pachecka.
Here the question of the past of all three comes back: Szal and Pachecka had sentences on their account, and Pachecka was also wanted. Grzegorz G. officially had a clean file.
“A very important moment in this process”
The testimonies of Poles living together with Pachecka and Pietrycki were also important in the case. They testified that when they were awakened by screams during the night, they were to hear someone begging, “What have I done to you?”
– It was a very important moment in this process. The word “you” [po angielsku oznaczające zarówno “ty”, jak i “wy” – przyp. red.] it was used in the singular and not in the plural in the testimony of witnesses. It means that there was only one person in the living room when the murdered man was shouting these words, says Gray.
Nevertheless, the jury – by ten votes to two – sentenced Pachecka and Szala to life imprisonment with the right to seek early release after serving 18 years.
“I hope they all come home”
British lawyers appealed against the judgment in 2019. An important fact for them was the fact that the “Supervisor” revealed that Grzegorz G. had been punished, and therefore the jury could have taken a false image of the third accused. As you can read in the justification of the British court’s decision sent to the editorial office of “Supervisor”, “the jury made a decision based on incorrect information that could have real significance for their assessment of the case”.
Main photo source: “Supervisor” of TVN