Telford play park murderer was 'habitual user of violence' as police praise victim's family

Police have praised the "quiet dignity" of the family of a man who was brutally murdered with a broken bottle.

The scene outside the Blue Elephant where Dawid Kurdziel collapsed
The scene outside the Blue Elephant where Dawid Kurdziel collapsed

They have also praised the response from Telford's Polish community who provided vital evidence which helped them identify the man responsible for Dawid Kurdziel's death on June 11, 2021

Robert Wieczorkowski was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday after being found guilty by a jury at Stafford Crown Court.

Jailed: Robert Wieczorkowski

Det Insp Lee Holehouse led the investigation and the manhunt for Wieczorkowski after he ran away to Scotland for five weeks following the attack.

He praised the family of Dawid Kurdziel for the "quiet dignity they have shown during this investigation and our thoughts remain with them.”

He had led a team of up to 100 officers, including 50 detectives, including in Scotland, in piecing together the evidence they needed to prosecute a successful trial.

But he said they could not have had the result without the response of Telford's large Polish community.

"I would like to thank everybody that came forward to the police in support of this investigation – in particular, those within the Polish community who provided key information which ultimately helped secure this conviction.

"The witnesses were crucial in helping us piece together what happened."

In praising the Polish community he said he hoped the tireless work would help to give them confidence in coming forward.

He added that the response was in no small measure due to the respect and love that Dawid Kurdziel had in the local community, and was a man they were proud of.

"He was a young man trying to make his way and was happy to put everybody else before himself."

Victim: Dawid Kurdziel

In the incident itself, Mr Kurdziel could have gone armed and intending violence but he did not, only wanting to talk to Wieczorkowski about his abusing a friend.

"Wieczorkowski's response was totally unnecessary and over the top," he said.

"I hope that our handling of the case shows we can be approachable.

The officers were able to get DNA of the victim and Wieczorkowski from the broken bottle.

"It became a very contained investigation," he added. "Within the first week we had an identity we were comfortable with."

Like the judge, DI Holehouse said he did not accept that Wieczorkowski had shown remorse for the murder.

"He showed a lack of responsibility and accountability for his actions. If he had wanted to prevent the family from going through with the pain of a trial he would have handed himself in."

He added that the police could not provide the family with what they really wanted, "their loved one back and for the pain to stop."

But he said: "The next best thing is to bring him to justice and I think the sentence reflected that.

“Throughout this investigation, he has maintained his stance that his actions were in self-defence and that he did not intend to kill or seriously harm Mr Kurdziel.

“But this was rejected by the jury and Wieczorkowski will rightfully spend many years in prison.

Foral tributes to Dawid Kurdziel

Trial judge Her Honour Kristina Montgomery was told that Wieczorkowski had been convicted for a string of robberies, involving violence, in Poland, from 2008 to 2011. But apart from a police caution in 2021, he had been clean in the UK.

His defence accepted that he would have to serve a minimum of 15 years in jail before being able to apply for parole.

The judge said the victim was described as a "hardworking, ambitious and charitable young man."

"He was an integral part of a close-knit family unit and his loss has utterly devastated them."

She added that the victim had been "deeply offended" by Wieczorkowski's "gratuitously abusive and insulting" behaviour to his friend. He had set out to for a explanation, and had not offered violence.

"You were angered by his challenging your and demanding that you explain yourself and this manifested itself in violence. You lashed out in the most brutal fashion, intending to cause him really serious injury."

Wieczorkowski broke a beer bottle on the Ketley Recreation Ground play area fence and thrust the broken bottle into Mr Kurdziel's neck with such force that it caused "deep penetrating wounds" and severed vital blood vessels.

"The injury caused Mr Kurdziel's descent into unconsciousness and death within minutes."

She added that Wieczorkowski was a "habitual user of violence" and said the result must be life imprisonment.

The scene outside the Blue Elephant where Dawid Kurdziel collapsed

But the judge accepted that he had not intended to kill and she accepted that he had been "remorseful".

But she added: "I have had the benefit of seeing you give evidence and I do not accept you were remorseful for your actions, only the unintended consequences."

She said it had been a spontaneous action of violence and not planned which gave "some little mitigation."

"It suggests your character is such that a resort to violence is instinctive."

She handed down an 18 year prison sentence, less the 276 days he had been on remand. After then he would be eligible to be released on parole, after which he would be on licence for the rest of his life, and at risk of being recalled to prison if he broke its conditions. He would also be surcharged on his release, she said.

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