Polish scrap metal thieves found guilty of Stonebridge murder

Two scrap metal thieves who beat a fellow scavenger to death in a row over sharing their profits are facing life sentences.

Marcin Porczek was left covered in injuries after being attacked by Piotr Kulik, 30, and Krysztof Szafisz, 34, with such ferocity that he suffered brain damage during the ‘brutal’ assault.

The 37-year-old vagrant had earlier decided to keep most of the �105 he had made that day selling stolen metal from the former office block in which they all lived as squatters.

His body later was found abandoned under a blanket on the second floor of the derelict building the day after his death.

Kulik and Szafisz were unanimously convicted of his murder following a four-week trial at the Old Bailey, and are to be sentenced tomorrow morning.

A third Pole Andrzej Mikolajek, 54, was acquitted of both murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

None of the three showed any emotion as the verdicts were read out.

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Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, earlier told the court the attackers had carried out a ‘ferocious and merciless’ attack on former plumber Mr Porczek.

‘There is no evidence that Mr Porczek himself was aggressive to anyone, or that he had assaulted or attacked anyone - no defendants sustained any injury attributable to him,’ she said.

‘By contrast, the victim was so badly injured that he sustained brain damage, nearly every one of his ribs was broken, and his chest was crushed by stamping and kicking.

‘It was a terrible way for an entirely innocent man to lose his life.’

A post-mortem report found injuries including severe bruising to his head, a fractured voice box, broken shoulder and a series of cracked ribs.

Jurors heard a community of dozens of homeless people, mainly alcoholic Polish men, lived in the disused ‘Unisys’ building at the junction between Harrow Road and the North Circular in Stonebridge.

Several of the residents earned money to buy alcohol and cigarettes by stripping metal from the building and selling it on to local scrap merchants.

The day before his body was found, Mr Porczek had paid two other squatters �10 each after they helped him take 50kg of metal from a spiral staircase in the building’s lobby to a nearby scrap dealer.

Police, who mounted a murder inquiry following a call from another squatter, tracked down Kulik and Szafisz to another squat in Wembley, where all they were arrested.

Forensic tests showed both men had Mr Porczek’s blood on their clothing and shoes, but they denied carrying out the killing.

Kulik, Szafisc, and Mikolajek, all of no fixed address, denied murder.