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Zofija Kaczan death: drug addict convicted of killing holocaust survivor, 100, for £20 heroin cash

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A drug addicted mugger has been found guilty of killing a frail 100-year-old Nazi prison camp survivor following a street robbery.

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Zofija Kaczan died of pneumonia in hospital on June 6 days after her neck and cheekbone were fractured in a handbag robbery on May 28 last year. 

She was knocked to the floor and robbed as she made her way to church in Normanton, Derby, suffering multiple injuries in the attack.

Self-confessed heroin addict Artur Waszkiewicz had denied manslaughter and robbery but was convicted of killing her at Derby Crown Court on Wednesday.

His trial heard he needed an “easy target” to steal from so he could meet a drug dealer a short time later to buy £20 of heroin.

Convicted: Artur Waszkiewicz (PA)

Polish-born widow Ms Kaczan survived a Nazi labour camp during the Second World War in which she was forced to work in factories and was even sentenced to death on her birthday.

She died of pneumonia brought on by the injuries sustained in the attack.

A jury of seven men and five women at Derby Crown Court deliberated for just over two hours before unanimously convicting Waszkiewicz of manslaughter and robbery.

Addressing the jury, the judge said: “The sentence will inevitably be one of lengthy imprisonment. Mr Waszkiewicz knows that.”

Ms Kaczan suffered multiple injuries in the attack (PA)

The centenarian had been separated from her family in Poland during the war, but had managed to “find peace” with her husband after coming to Derby in 1948.

Friends said she did not want to celebrate her 100th birthday because the day marked the same day of the year she had been sentenced to death by the Nazis.

Waszkiewicz was caught on CCTV driving a Seat Leon car he bought from his father minutes before robbing Ms Kaczan – slowing down as soon as he saw a “small, vulnerable” woman on her own.

His trial heard he needed an “easy target” to steal from so he could meet a drug dealer a short time later to buy £20 of heroin.

Opening the case, prosecutor Kate Brunner QC said: “She was attacked, she was thrown to the ground and her handbag was snatched from her.

“She was small, on her own, vulnerable – an easy target for a man desperate for money.

“He attacked Ms Kaczan, yanking her handbag from her and leaving her injured in the road and driving off.”

Police arrested Waszkiewicz, who was also born in Poland, after his fingerprint was recovered from a receipt in the bag.

He fled the city and hid under a bed at his mother’s house in London to try to avoid arrest.

The trial was told the 40-year-old had a number of previous convictions including shoplifting, creating false identification documents and one offence of battery.

He denied both charges, saying he had found the green handbag in the middle of the road, picked it up, and disposed of it at a well-known fly-tipping area because there was no cash.

A spokeswoman for the Polish community of St Maksymilian Kolbe, the church Ms Kaczan attended, said she had a “very difficult early life” but had found a “degree of stability and tranquillity” in Derby.

“That tranquillity was shattered by the brutal events of May 28, 2018,” she added.

“Despite the pain and suffering that she was in for the last week of her life, she had the capacity to pray for her attacker before she died. We believe she has found peace in the arms of her Heavenly Father.”

Waszkiewicz, of Hilary Road in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, will be sentenced at the same court on Thursday.

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