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Katowice. Gas explosion at the rectory in Szopienice. Court judgment. Edward K. sentenced for leaking the installation

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On Thursday, the Katowice-Wschód District Court passed a verdict against Edward D., accused of causing a gas explosion in the presbytery building of the Evangelical Augsburg Parish in Katowice-Szopienice last year. The man was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Edward D. with his wife and daughter lived in the rectory building in Katowice Szopienice. After the gas explosion, they were pulled out of the rubble. The women were dead, the man was saved. The prosecutor's office accused him of intentionally leaking the gas installation. He was sentenced to 6 years.

That's what the prosecutor's office demanded. The defense asked for acquittal. The judgment is not final.

According to the accusation, Edward D. intentionally unsealed the gas installation. As a result of the explosion, the building collapsed and several people were injured. The bodies of the accused's wife and daughter, who lived with him in the building, were found in the rubble. However, D. was not responsible for causing their death, because – according to expert opinions – the cause of their death was previous drug poisoning.

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The explosion occurred in January 2023TVN24

He was supposed to deliberately unseal the gas installation, but who started the fire?

Edward D. was also pulled from the rubble. He was seriously injured in the explosion and spent many days in hospital. He was detained in March last year and arrested.

The investigation was conducted by the District Prosecutor's Office in Katowice. Witnesses were interviewed and numerous specialist expert opinions were sought. They determined that the cause of the explosion in the rectory building was the outflow of gas into the living quarters occupied by the accused's family.

At the end of last year, the indictment was ready. D. was responsible for causing a direct danger of a natural gas explosion and unintentionally causing an explosion, as a result of which the rectory building collapsed and two children and their father suffered bodily injuries.

The trial began on January 24. The 75-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty. Answering the court's questions, he confirmed earlier explanations from the investigation that his wife, he and their daughter had agreed on suicide – due to his wife's illness and financial situation, but he did not remember the detailed circumstances preceding the explosion.

According to the prosecutor's office, the evidence collected during the investigation, including the opinion of a gas expert, indicates that the defendant intentionally unsealed the gas installation in his apartment, which resulted in a gas leak. However, it is not known whether the initiation of the explosion was the result of a deliberate action or an accident, investigators note.

Injured children and father, millions of losses for the parish

As a result of the explosion, a family living in this building was injured: two children and their father. The bodies of two women were found in the rubble – the wife and daughter of a 75-year-old man. The main cause of their death was poisoning from the drugs they had taken earlier, and there are no grounds to assume that these people were alive at the time of the explosion, the prosecutor's office said.

The Evangelical-Augsburg parish suffered losses of over PLN 6 million. The explosion also damaged nearby buildings and cars, including: the church of the Evangelical-Augsburg parish and the building of the Primary School (damage over PLN 700,000), Food Industry School Complex (damage over PLN 900,000). In total, the prosecutor granted the status of injured party to 19 natural persons and other entities.

Letter to the editor

The explosion occurred on January 27, 2023, around 8:30 a.m. in Katowice-Szopienice. The bodies of a 69-year-old woman and her 40-year-old daughter were found in the rubble. Their husband and father was taken to hospital. This family lived in the rectory and years ago took care of the church.

Gas explosion in Katowice. A building collapsed in the Szopienice districtTVN24

A few days after the explosion, the media reported that they had received a letter signed by all three of them, which was sent to the editor shortly before the tragedy. There was an announcement of suicide in it. The authors of the letter wrote that, being in a difficult situation, they turned to the priest with whom they lived and worked for help; they felt cheated by him.

The information about the misunderstandings in the rectory was then confirmed by the parish priest and bishop of the Katowice diocese of the Evangelical Augsburg Church, Marian Niemiec. According to the bishop, the conflict between the family who was supposed to write the letter and the parish had been going on for years and was based on financial issues. The dispute was based on the court, which agreed with the parish. As the bishop described, the family that years ago took care of the church, lived in the rectory and was supported by the parish, did not pay rent or utilities; she had not been involved in the church for years.

Main photo source: TVN24

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