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‘Mugger’, 40, ‘shaved his head after killing Holocaust survivor as he stole her bag’

A man accused of killing a 100-year-old woman in a violent mugging bought £20 worth of heroin in the minutes after the attack, a court has heard. 

Artur Waszkiewicz, 40, is alleged to have grabbed Zofija Kaczan from behind and stole her handbag as she walked to a church service in Normanton, Derby on May 28 last year.

She suffered multiple injuries as a result, including a broken neck and fractured cheekbone, before her condition deteriorated – and she later died from pneumonia in hospital on June 6.

Zofija Kaczan (pictured) died in hospital on June 6 last year after she was mugged on her way to a church service in Normanton, Derby

A jury was earlier shown CCTV stills (pictured) of Polish-born widow Ms Kaczan being followed by a grey Seat Leon in the moments before she was mugged

A jury was earlier shown CCTV stills (pictured) of Polish-born widow Ms Kaczan being followed by a grey Seat Leon in the moments before she was mugged

Derby Crown Court previously heard how her green handbag had been found minutes after the alleged altercation by a street cleaner and was empty of cash. 

And a jury was shown CCTV stills of Polish-born widow Ms Kaczan, who was held in a Nazi camp during the Second World War, being followed by a grey Seat Leon in the moments before she was mugged. 

In court today, Waszkiewicz, who denies manslaughter and robbery, claimed he had seen Ms Kaczan’s handbag lying on the pavement while going to buy a £20 wrap of heroin.

And that he had only found receipts inside the bag and so left it on a pile of rubbish nearby.   

He told the court: ‘I was going to see my local dealer to buy heroin. I stopped in Empress Road when I saw a green bag on the side of the road. 

‘I stopped, got out of the car, picked up the bag and got back in the car straight away. I did not look in the bag at that stage.

‘I drove to the place where I was meeting my dealer. When I reached the place where I was supposed to meet my dealer, I looked in the bag.

‘If I had found some cash, I probably would have put it in my pocket. I met my dealer and obtained £20 of heroin.

‘I drove on Moor Street. I was going there to buy cigarettes from the corner shop. They sell Polish cigarettes – which are a lot cheaper than English cigarettes.

‘I left the bag on the top of a pile where people leave stuff for other people to find.’ 

The junction in Normanton, Derby where Zofija Kaczan suffered a broken neck

The junction in Normanton, Derby where Zofija Kaczan suffered a broken neck

The court also heard today how Waszkiewicz would often ask neighbours to borrow money, and appeared ‘desperate’ after the alleged mugging- even appearing to have cleaned his car. 

When police first went to his home to interview him in relation to the incident he claimed he was too unwell to answer questions because he was withdrawing from drugs.  

And when they later came back to arrest him he reportedly hid under a bed at his parents’ house in London.

Prosecutor Kate Brunner QC, read out a statement from John Shinners, a neighbour of Waszkiewicz – claiming he ‘seemed really anxious’ in the days after the mugging.

Recalling his behaviour the week after the incident, he said: ‘I heard a knock at the door and saw the male standing on my door step. 

‘His long black hair had been cut off. It looked like it had been clippered. He asked if he could borrow my phone to make a call. He made a call and left. 

‘He then asked me for some money. He seemed really anxious and desperate.’  

Taking the stand to begin giving evidence, Waszkiewicz revealed he was born in Poland and moved to the UK in 1996.

The silver Seat Leon he drove had been insured in his father Zenon Waszkiewicz’s name, but his father cancelled the insurance on May 28 – the day of the mugging.     

Waszkiewicz, from Derby, denies robbery and manslaughter. The trial at Derby Crown Court (pictured), continues

Waszkiewicz, from Derby, denies robbery and manslaughter. The trial at Derby Crown Court (pictured), continues

Ms Brunner, outlining the facts of the case, went on to note how several items were still inside Ms Kaczan’s purse when it was found.

She said: ‘In the bag was a black purse, two brown wallets containing no money, a number of receipts including one on which the defendant’s fingerprint was found.

‘There was some jewellery including a gold coloured cross, a pocket watch on a chain and a gold signet ring and keys to her house.

‘The handle of the bag had been ripped off the bag.’

She also noted that the vehicle Waszkiewicz had allegedly been using to follow Ms Kaczan prior to the mugging was found two days after the incident on May 30.

She said: ‘There was a bottle of Flash cleaner and a blue duster. It looked clean inside and out.

‘The defendant’s fingerprint was on a CD in the glove box in the car.’

Before going on to explain how Waszkiewicz had hidden under a bed as police came to arrest him.

She said: ‘He was cautioned and made no reply. The defendant answered ‘no comment’ to all questions.’

Waszkiewicz, from Derby, denies robbery and manslaughter. The trial, set to last two weeks, continues. 

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