Zbigniew Lasek (36) guilty of murder

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Helen Gavaghan, Bradford, Crown Court (UK), 25th May, 2018

The jury retired at 1pm this afternoon. By 2.10pm we learned there was a verdict. Unanimously the jury decided Zbigniew Lasek (36) from Halifax in the UK had murdered his wife, Monica. Victim impact statements read to the Court before sentence was passed testify to three children who are beyond bewildered at the shattering of their world in November last year.

The judge, his honour Judge David Hatton QC, said he would pass straight to sentencing, but before doing so his honour rose, leaving press, police, public, counsel and jury scrambing to their feet before he stopped, told the jury they might leave, and that he would pass sentence at 3pm. Judge Hatton did so. With the jury back as witnesses his honour told Zbigniew Lasek the sentence was being passed as the law required for murder. Mr Lasek was handed a life sentence and told he must serve 24 years in prison (less 180 days) before he may approach the Parole Board to apply for early release.

The killing of Monica Lasek was brutal.

Only nine days before the killing neighbours had called police because of noise from the Laseks' home. Monica Lasek had declined to give a statement, so police had released Mr Lasek.

The Court heard of marital discord and distress, with the children caught in the crossfire.

In reaching their verdict the jury rejected Mr Lasek's defence of "self defence and loss of control". Mr Lasek told the Court that after his wife was dead he had tried to kill himself. Repeatedly he told the jury he had lost control and could not recall details. Prosecution and defence each presented different accounts of how the knife which caused Monica's death came to be in Mr Lasek's hands.

The prosecution case was that after the murder Mr Lasek had faked loss of consciousness and he had made an opportunity for unwitnessed murder. Mr Lasek had scored various marks on the Glasgow Coma scale for loss of consciousness when assessed by paramedics on the day of Monica's death.

In directions to the jury his honour made clear the circumstances in which a partial defence of loss of self control may be offered such that it would reduce a murder charge to one of manslaughter.

During testimony the Court heard how Mr Lasek was taken from the scene to Leeds' General Infirmary where he was treated for two days.

After sentencing Mr Lasek, who slumped with his head in his hands when he heard the verdict, the judge thanked the family of Monica and Zbigniew Lasek for their dignity in Court.

Those members of the public who attended the home of the Laseks on the day of the murder were thanked for their exemplary conduct, as were the first officers on the scene: Police Constables Mark Stanley and Adam Fleming. Detective Constables Rachel Kennedy and Lucy Hill were thanked as family liaison officers. Finally, the judge told the jury of the value of their service.

Published initially by Helen Gavaghan to comply with contemporaneous news reporting requirements. At the end of July the work will be removed, and Apple Bough LP (registered in England) will republish the work with appropriate redactions in the From British Courts Section of Science, People & Politics. Future news reports intended for the magazine Science, People & Politics will be published by Apple Bough from the website www dot sciencepeopleandpolitics dot com. HG 12.06.2018.

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