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When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Roman Frackiewicz
Feb 18, 2021
On Sentencing, Lord Braid made the following statement in court:
“Roman Frackiewicz, you were convicted unanimously by the jury of the brutal and callous murder of Jadwiga Szczygielska, aged 77. You were her lodger, and had lived with her in that capacity for two years. On the night of the murder, it appears from the evidence that you had consumed copious amounts of vodka, and, for reasons unknown, that you argued with her for a period of hours before you viciously assaulted her with such force that, in addition to other injuries, her heart was ruptured. You then left her lying on the kitchen floor and went to your bed, without summoning assistance. You did call for an ambulance in the morning but by then it was far too late. While you did not intend to kill her, you displayed wicked recklessness as to whether she lived or died.
After you were convicted, the Crown informed the Court that Mrs Szczygielska had taken you in as a lodger at the request of her parish priest, when you found yourself with nowhere to live, because of a non-harassment order imposed on you following domestic abuse of your then partner. I don’t know whether Mrs Szczygielska was aware of your violent past, but, in any event, she willingly accepted you as her lodger, even giving up her own bedroom to you for a period of two years, while she slept on a sofa in the living room. Your offence thus also displays a breach of trust and was committed against a trusting, compassionate and vulnerable person in what should have been the sanctity of her own home.
Although she was aged 77, Mrs Szczygielska was apparently in good health and might reasonably have expected to enjoy life for many years to come. Your actions have not only deprived her of that, but have taken a loved mother from her son and family. I do not have a victim impact statement. I have been told that Mrs Szczygielska‘s son has not been able to find the words to express the impact of his mother’s murder on his life, but he has said that this terrible event will be with him for the rest of his life. No sentence I can impose can possibly make up for what he has lost.
As I told you when you were convicted, the only sentence I can impose is one of life imprisonment. However, in imposing that sentence I also have to specify a period which must pass before you can apply for release on parole. This period is known as the punishment part of your sentence. Whether or not you are ever released will be for others to determine but even if you are released you will be subject to the conditions of a licence for the rest of your life and liable to be recalled to prison if you break any of the conditions.
In fixing the punishment period I have had regard to the circumstances of the offence as brought out in the evidence, to your record and to what has been said on your behalf.
This was a brutal attack. Mrs Szczygielska suffered terrible blunt force injuries including 14 fractured ribs, some in more than one place, and a ruptured heart. The expert who gave evidence likened the injuries to the sort that might be suffered in a road traffic accident. It must have been obvious to you that death was a likely consequence of the attack. Your record includes two convictions of assault, one with a domestic aggravation. I do not have the benefit of a Criminal Justice Social Work Report, which might have shed further light on your background and circumstances, because you, for your own reasons, have refused to speak to the Social Worker tasked with preparing such a report. You have not made any expression of remorse.
In all the circumstances I sentence you to life imprisonment to run from 21 April 2020, and I fix the punishment part at 19 years.”
18 February 2021