Friday, February 22, 2008

Polish woman guilty of killing partner

A WOMAN has been found guilty of manslaughter for stabbing her partner at a Dorset campsite.

Ewa Katarzyna Palkowska, 41, was charged with killing Dariuz Swiader at the Clay Pigeon Caravan Park, Wardon Hill, Evershot, in October, 2006.

She wept as a jury delivered its verdict of not guilty of murder but guilty for the lesser charge.

Speaking from Poland after she had been informed of the verdict Magda Pritchard, the cousin of 36-year-old Mr Swiader, said: "On behalf of myself and the family I'm a bit disappointed with the verdict. But the main thing I want to make known is our sincere gratitude to all of the police who have put so much work in.

"If they hadn't been involved the outcome would have been much different."

Mrs Pritchard paid special tribute to the officers who had liased with the family in the case, Inspector Kevin Lansdale and Detective Constables Simon Tallick, Paul O'Rourke and Steve Richards.

She added: "Simon and Kevin came to Poland and gave their condolences to my auntie (Dariusz's mother) personally.

"Without them it would have been much harder to take it."

Palkowska will return to court on March 3 to be sentenced. She will also hear whether she is going to be deported.

The jury spent nearly three days deliberating their verdict.

They had heard how there had been an argument when Palkowska was angry with Mr Swiader for failing to pay a cheque into the bank earlier in the day.

They were told that Palkowska was drunk on the night in question. Before they came to a decision Judge Guy Boney stressed how this should affect the jury's verdict.

He said: "A drunken intent is still an intent but there is a limit as to how far that position can be taken.

"If you come to the conclusion that she had taken such a large quantity of drink that at the moment of the stabbing she was, or may have been, no longer capable of forming the intention - either to kill him or do him really serious harm - then she would not be guilty of murder.

"Instead she would be guilty of manslaughter."

DI Lansdale, who was the police officer in the case, said: "We accept the verdict of the court.

"This has been a long and painstaking inquiry for us.

"It has been very difficult as a number of the people who were involved are of Polish extraction and had gone back to Poland.

"We had to go to Poland to keep in touch with the witnesses and to get them to court."

He added: "We would like to reassure people that Dorset is still a safe area and this is not something that is a common occurrence.

"We would like to thank the people that have come forward and helped with the investigation, particularly local people.

"The family have been very impressed with the work that the police have done on the case and they wanted to get that across."

DI Lansdale said that the police had worked closely with the Polish community to offer reassurance and support to those affected by the incident.

He added: "The inquiry itself was painstaking - involving officers from across Dorset. There were 139 statements taken, 500 exhibits, 158 actions and 130 different people coming to the attention of the investigative team during the course of the enquiry."

Mr Swiader came from a small town close to Szczecin in Poland and had lived in Weymouth for about a year and latterly at the Clay Pigeon site near Dorchester.

DI Lansdale said: "The time between the incident and the trial date which commenced on January 14, 2008, at Winchester Crown Court created logistical problems with numbers of Polish witnesses moving within the UK and also returning to Poland in locating them and ensuring attendance at the trial."