A Northamptonshire man who claimed his car and phone had been stolen and used by someone else as they killed another man has been convicted of murder.
Lukasz Stachura was found guilty of murdering Kamil Leszczynski after the 33-year-old, from Wellingborough, was discovered close to a farm track in fields off Turvey Road, between the villages of Carlton and Turvey.
Stachura 40, of Gold Street, Wellingborough, repeatedly denied being responsible for Mr Leszczynski’s death during a three-week trial despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but was unanimously found guilty.
Mr Leszczynski’s body was found concealed in a ditch near a single-track lane leading from Carlton Road to The Causeway by a farmer, who contacted police shortly after 4.30pm on July 1, a spokesperson for Bedfordshire Police said.
The victim’s hands were tied together with phone chargers, and there was further evidence he had been seriously assaulted, the spokesperson said.
An investigation by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit was able to trace the movements of Stachura on the day the victim was last seen – Sunday June 27 - with CCTV footage showing him driving around Wellingborough in his red Vauxhall Astra.
Notably, the car was seen with a driver and passenger matching the descriptions of both men at around 8pm, with further footage showing both had been in the St Thomas Street area shortly beforehand, police said.
Later that evening, between 9pm and 11pm, Stachura’s phone connected to a phone mast within 200 metres of the location where Mr Leszczynski’s body was found. During that time the phone had over 50 text message exchanges with Stachura’s partner, along with a call lasting nearly 10 minutes, the spokesperson said. CCTV images then showed the vehicle in the nearby village Emmaus heading towards Wellingborough a short time later.
Subsequent enquiries by detectives found that the victim was known to Stachura, and the pair had been involved in an altercation in a park five days previously. On that occasion Stachura was seen to punch Mr Leszczynski to the floor, the spokesperson said.
Throughout the trial he insisted that his car had been stolen and was being used by someone else.
However, he was unanimously found guilty following the trial. He is due to be sentenced later in April.
Detective Inspector Dale Mepstead said: “Throughout this trial our thoughts have remained with Kamil’s family and friends, who have been put through the rigours of a trial due to Stachura’s baseless insistence that he was innocent.
“I would like to thank the brave witnesses who came forward to help us paint a picture of Stachura and allowed us to establish how he knew his victim and the interaction between the pair in the days before the incident.
“This dangerous man now faces a significant spell behind bars and our communities are without doubt safer with him removed from society.”
In a tribute to Mr Leszczynski in the aftermath of the attack, his family described him as ‘cheerful and affectionate’.
They said: “Kamil was a wonderful person and a wonderful brother.
“He was a cheerful and affectionate man. He loved his sister and was always caring and supportive of her.
“He will be missed by all of his family and friends.”