Dunfermline: Former Fife College IT technician must serve at least 23 years in prison

A FATHER who killed his two-year-old son in a ‘truly diabolical’ murder has been jailed for life and sentenced to at least 23 years behind bars.

Lukasz Czapla, a former computer technician at Fife College in Dunfermline, was found guilty of the murder of Julius Czapla at his flat in Muirhouse, Edinburgh, in November 2020, unanimously.

After discovering the youngster’s mother was in a new relationship, the 41-year-old shot his son in the head with a BB gun, stabbed him with a skewer and choked him with a pillow.

Edinburgh High Court heard it was an act of ‘vengeance and jealousy’ to ‘revenge’ his former partner.

Following the verdict, Patrycja Szczesniak, Julius’ mother, released a statement through Police Scotland saying her baby boy had “complete confidence” in his father.

She said: “Despite breaking up with Julius’ father, I wanted him to have contact with our son.

“I never stopped him from seeing Julius.

“Julek (Julius) loved him like every child loves his father. He trusted him, he trusted him completely.

“Julius was murdered solely out of revenge.

“His father wanted me to suffer, he succeeded and achieved his goal, at the cost of the life of my beloved little boy.”

Czapla had offered to plead guilty to culpable homicide, claiming attenuated responsibility, but prosecutors rejected his plea and pursued a murder conviction.

The two-week hearing at Edinburgh High Court ended with a jury unanimously finding him guilty of murder.

Immediately after the jury delivered its verdict, Judge Lord Beckett sentenced Czapla to life in prison, with a minimum of 23 years before he could be considered for parole.

Lord Beckett told him, “Because of your actions, your son will never grow up.”

He described the murder as “truly diabolical, causing considerable distress to a helpless child”.

The court heard that Czapla drank alcohol and took prescribed antidepressants the night he killed his son.

However, Lord Beckett told him: “There is no excuse that you have been filled with alcohol and drugs.

“You acted out of spite by killing this child to get revenge on his mother.”

Czapla, who showed no reaction to the announcement of the verdict, was taken away in handcuffs.

Lord Beckett offered the members of the jury advisory services, adding: “I suspect this case goes beyond the horror of the cases we hear.

“There can be nothing in your life that will prepare you for this experience, I imagine it cost you dearly to hear of such terrible violence inflicted on such a helpless child for no reason and for the wrong reasons. .”

He referred to comments by consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Alexander Quinn during the trial, in which he described the events as “one of the most difficult and heartbreaking cases”.

Testifying during the trial, Czapla claimed he killed his son because he had decided to end his life and could not leave Julius behind without a father – as he had been.

After shooting him in the head with the air gun, he realized the toddler was still alive but paralyzed, and proceeded to stab and choke him.

He previously told the court: “I didn’t want him to suffer at all, it wasn’t my intention.

“I had this stupid idea on TV that people die instantly.”

Alan Cameron, prosecuting, told the jury that Czapla’s fury and jealousy towards Ms Szczesniak had motivated him to kill Julius.

He referred to text messages sent the night of the murder where Czapla asked about her sex life and her new partner, to which she did not respond.

Mr Cameron said: ‘What really triggered him that night… was his refusal to answer questions about his new partner and their sex life – not about his son at all.’

He added: “He was furious with his ex-partner…in a fit of anger and spite he killed his son to hurt his former partner.”

Czapla previously pleaded guilty to nine other counts, including dangerous driving offenses and possession of an airgun.

The sentences for each of them will be carried out at the same time as his life sentence, the court said.

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