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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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‘Intense’ Polish rivalry led to death, Cumbrian trial told

'Intense' rivalry between groups of men within Carlisle’s Polish community ultimately led to the death of one of their number, a murder trial heard.

Piotr Kulinski photo
Piotr Kulinski

Related: Cumbrian trial told victim’s blood on clothes of accused

Marcin Kalinowski, who had travelled to Carlisle from his home in Poland to give evidence, said that he had known Piotr Kulinski and that his friend had been threatened by a number of others.

Mr Kulinski, who worked at the city’s Cavaghan & Gray factory and who had a young son and partner, lost his life after being stabbed outside his home in Arnside Road, Harraby, on October 14 last year.

Mr Kalinowski, who gave his evidence from behind a screen, said that Mr Kulinski had also been involved in street fights with others on several occasions and had wanted the violence to stop. He told the court: “He said that he was threatened by other people and there were some fights in the past with other people.

“He said that now he has got a family, his missus and a little boy, he tried to get out of it but he never could.”

Mr Kalinowski, who had known the victim when he used to live in Carlisle, said that his friend had been involved in a fight with a man known as Zygner but he did not know who that person was.

“I can’t remember the exact time but he said he’d just had a fight with Zygner,” he said. “It started when he was on his way to pick up his missus and the little boy.

“They were fighting in the main street and after that they moved into a small nearby street. Then they started fighting again. When they stopped Zygner asked Piotr ‘are we cool now?’”

He added that when Mr Kulinski got home he realised his back was covered in blood but he had not realised he was injured so badly at the time of the fight.

The court heard that the fight was filmed by someone across the street using a camera.

Mr Kalinowski said that the men were known by nicknames such as Tyson, Zygga, Pitbull and Slonic – which translated into English as “small elephant”.

He added that he had advised Mr Kulinski to contact the police at the end of September.

He said: “There were some really serious threats against his family. I said it was better to get the police involved.”

Piotr Zygner, 30, Sylwester Kawalec, 23, and Paulina Mucha, 26, are all on trial at Carlisle Crown Court accused of the murder of Piotr Kulinski.

The prosecution has brought murder charges against Zygner, Mucha, and Kawalec, all of Currock Road, Currock, Carlisle.

All three deny murder.

Artur Woszczyna, 44, of Beverley Rise, Harraby, Carlisle, and Artur Skoczen, 30, of Ashman Close, Denton Holme, Carlisle, deny conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The prosecution allege Mr Kulinski was attacked by Zygner and Kawalec.

The prosecution also say they escaped in a vehicle driven by Mucha and that the three joined forces with the others “to try to prevent the police from solving the crime and particularly by disposing of evidence”.

The trial continues.

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