Mugger jailed for killing woman, 100

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Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption Artur Waszkiewicz had denied manslaughter and robbery but was found guilty on Wednesday

A mugger who killed a 100-year-old widow in a handbag robbery has been jailed for 15 years.

Sofija Kaczan suffered a broken neck in the attack and died of pneumonia brought on by her injuries on 6 June.

Artur Waszkiewicz, 40, preyed on her as she walked to church near her home in Normanton, Derby.

Judge Nicholas Dean QC said Waszkiewicz was a “cowardly petty criminal” whose dangerous attack had led to “awful consequences”.

Nazi prison camp survivor Mrs Kaczan was robbed near her home in Empress Road on 28 May 2018.

Image copyright PA
Image caption During the sentencing hearing, Derby Crown Court heard Sofija Kaczan had been “robbed of her life”

Heroin addict Waszkiewicz had denied manslaughter and robbery but was found guilty on Wednesday at Derby Crown Court.

Judge Dean handed him 15 years for manslaughter and seven for robbery to run concurrently.

Waszkiewicz has 24 previous convictions for 51 offences, including battery in 2014.

Defence QC David Nathan said he was “not a monster”.

But Judge Dean replied: “What he is is a cowardly petty criminal.

“What he did was dangerous. What he did led to awful, awful consequences.”

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Media captionSofija Kaczan death: 100-year-old’s killer caught on CCTV

Addressing Waszkiewicz, Judge Dean said he had “demonstrated arrogance” during the trial.

“True to your nature as a petty criminal and heroin addict, this was opportunist crime of the meanest, most despicable type,” he said.

“All this for modest gain and for you to satisfy your craving for heroin.”

‘Tragic irony’

On the day of the bag-snatch, Waszkiewicz needed an “easy target” to steal from so he could meet a drug dealer and buy heroin.

After spotting Polish-born Mrs Kaczan, he knocked her to the floor, took her handbag and left her to bleed in the middle of the road.

Judge Dean added: “There is tragic irony in the fact that Mrs Kaczan had survived the unimaginable horror of a Nazi concentration camp and slave labour, as well as imminent execution, only to meet her end because of the cowardly and sordid actions of a petty criminal and drug addict on the streets of Derby.

“Mrs Kaczan would not have wanted her life to be defined by the circumstances of her death.

“She had prayed for and forgiven her attacker which is testament to the good person she was.”

Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption Mrs Kaczan, described as a grandmother with a heart of gold, suffered multiple injuries in the attack

Mrs Kaczan had been separated from her family during the war but had managed to “find peace” with her husband when she moved to Derby in 1948.

Friend Anna Zimand told the BBC: “You feel justice has been done and yet there is a degree of sadness.”

Mrs Kaczan’s carer Angelika Cybulska said she had planned to go on one final holiday with the 100-year-old.

In a statement read by prosecutor Kate Brunner QC, Ms Cybulska said: “Now she has gone it has taken a massive part of my heart away and I miss her daily.

“I am so distraught she had to die in this way.”

Image copyright Derbyshire Police
Image caption A receipt with Artur Waszkiewicz’s fingerprint on it was found in the stolen bag

Police arrested Waszkiewicz – formerly of Wolfa Street, Derby, now of Hilary Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London – after finding his fingerprint on a receipt in the handbag and spotting his Seat Leon car on CCTV at the crime scene.

He attempted to cover his tracks in the days following the robbery – cleaning his car, drastically altering his appearance by cutting his hair and changing the insurance details on the car.

Despite his efforts, the killer was arrested and was found hiding under a bed at his mother’s home in London.

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