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“Freedom can not be worse”: a Pole left prison after 18 years for rape and murder, which he did not commit

Tomas Komenda during the verdict. Photos of Adam Konarsky,

March 15 in Poland, released on freedom of 41-year-old Tomas Komenda (Tomasz Komenda), who spent 18 years in prison. He was to serve a 25-year sentence for rape and murder, which, as it turned out later, he did not commit.

When the murder occurred and why they accused Komenda

Komenda was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment in 2004 for the rape and brutal murder of 15-year-old Małgorzata Kwiatkowska in the village of Milosice near Wroclaw on the night of January 1, 1997.

Parents took a picture of Malgozhat before she left for the party. Holiday pictures Gazeta Worclawska

The girl longly asked parents for a New Year party at the local club Alcatraz, and eventually they let her go. About 10 hours later she was found dead in some socks near the place of celebration. Experts found that she died of cold, indicating as a cause of blood loss and hypothermia.

Local media found out that the girl left the club without a jacket with two guys with whom she drank champagne. Kvyatkovskaya used alcohol before, but this time she felt ill. They were joined by another man, who introduced himself as the brother of a girl, whom she did not have. He left with Malgorzata, promising to take her home, and then another man came up to them. The witnesses confirmed that they saw two men and a girl without a jacket, and also heard screams.

At the scene of the crime, they found a dress, leggings and bra Malozhata, which were scattered around. The girl’s shoes were never found. On her body, the investigators found DNA: blood, semen, as well as hair and traces of the criminal’s teeth.

In 2000, experts of the Wroclaw Medical University decided that the traces of teeth belong to Tomasz. As noted edition Gazeta Wroclawska, this was a key piece of evidence against the men. In addition, police dogs were able to determine it by smell.

In May 2000, Tomas was arrested , in 2003 he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape. Later, he refused his testimony and began to remain silent. At this time the investigators found that Komenda was one of the accomplices in the crime, but no one else was caught.

In 2004, the Wroclaw Court of Appeal sentenced Komendu to 25 years in prison. According to the verdict, the court saw “incontrovertible evidence” of Tomasz’s guilt and the fact that he did not commit the crime alone, but was only an accomplice, did not become a mitigating circumstance. In 2005, the Polish Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the prisoner.

The police calculated Komendu on the basis of the description from the words of witnesses. The young man first admitted that he was at the club and had sex with a certain girl, but claimed that he does not know a girl named Malgorzata. Immediately 12 people confirmed to the investigation that at the time of the crime Tomáš was not in the village, but in Wrocław, but the court seemed inconclusive.

Later, he said that the police had beaten him to obtain recognition so that they left no traces. His friends were allegedly threatened for suspected false testimony.

As it turned out, that Komenda is not guilty

After the verdict in 2004, the investigation of the Komendy case was suspended. In 2017, the parents of the deceased girl demanded his resumption, and Polish Minister of Justice Zbigniew Ziobro gave the appropriate order.

Minister of Justice of Poland Zbigniew Ziobro. PAP Photos

In the materials of the case, there was another person – an Ireneusz M., who was also in the club on the day of the murder. He was interrogated three days after the crime as a suspect, but there was not enough evidence to hold him accountable.

At the first interrogation, Ireneusz described in detail the socks of the Malgorzata, which were hidden under tight leggings and shoes. He remembered that they were white with a red strip, but they could only be seen by the one who undressed the girl. The investigators did not attach any importance to this and expelled Ireneusz from among the suspects, since the traces of his teeth did not coincide with the bites on the body of the deceased.

After the resumption of the investigation, investigators suggested that it was Ireneush who posed as a brother to Malgorzata, named Irek. When they brought a case for the rape and murder of a girl, he was already in prison for the same crime.

I believe that this can not be called murder, because the girl died from hypothermia, and no one beat her. The fact that the prosecutor is confident in my guilt seems to me to be absolutely stupid. I did not rape anyone.

Ireneusz M.

The results of the examinations were so inaccurate that DNA theoretically coincided with a minimum of three people. Investigators changed methods to establish the identity of the perpetrator.

It turned out that the investigators committed a serious mistake, because Komende was innocent. He was convicted on the basis of certain evidence, which was then perceived as irrefutable. We will treat this evidence differently.

Robert Tomankevich
representative of the Wroclaw Prosecutor’s Office

In March 2018, prosecutor Stanislav Ozimina (Stanisław Ozimina), who arrested Komenda in 2000, confessed that he had not studied the case file. He received the case from a colleague who was replaced at the request of the family of the murdered girl. By the time Komenda was already in the status of a suspect, and the police received samples of his DNA.

Ozimin fully trusted the police and experts. In an interview with Gazeta Wroclawska, he spoke about doubts, in spite of which he did nothing. According to the prosecutor, the police violated the law, not having filmed the dogs in determining the smell. The bites on the body of the victim were only similar to the bite of Tomasz, but could easily belong to another person with curved teeth, he concluded. The prosecutor also denied that Komenda was beaten during interrogations.

Of course, I had doubts, but there was enough evidence to close the case and bring charges. It was necessary then to delve into the details, but I did not read the documents, and then I was removed.

Stanislav Ozimina

Ozimin was removed from his job in the prosecutor’s office because of corruption – he also took bribes for the early release of criminals.

Investigators made other conclusions from previously discovered evidence – the hair found at the crime scene belonged not to Komende. They also concluded that, allegedly, his cap was only an indirect evidence of the presence at the scene of the murder, but not the fact of its commission.

Witnesses who confirmed the alibi of Tomasz in 2000 were again summoned for interrogation. Komendy himself was interrogated with a polygraph. As a result of the new investigation, the prosecutor’s office came to the conclusion that the man was innocent.

What happens after liberation?

After the release of freedom Komenda is required to undergo a 10-year trial period. At this time, he can not leave his place of residence without the permission of the court and must be noted in the police.

Komenda has the right to demand compensation. Independent lawyer Andrei Malitsky told Fakt that Tomash owes money for moral damage and salary compensation, which he could not earn at the time of the conclusion. According to lawyer estimates, Komenda can get a minimum of 648,000 zlotys (10.8 million rubles).

Close people meet Komendu. PAP Photos

Komenda will also receive psychological help. According to him, other prisoners beat him and taunted him because of the article on which he was put: “People with such accusations as mine do not get a life in prison.” He tried several times to commit suicide.

Tomasz assured that he was ready for life at large, which “can not be worse than 18 years in prison.”

I think I will live for today. What will happen tomorrow? What will happen in a month? I do not know, time will tell. Now I want to spend time with my family.

Tomas Komenda

Polish Vice-Minister of Justice Patrick Yakiy said that the wrong verdict, confirmed by several judges, “clearly shows the problems in the country’s justice system”. In his opinion, the investigators either tried to cover the offender, or show the society that the guilty party was found.

The head of the Polish Ministry of Justice, Ziobro, asked to find out why the investigators falsified the evidence and exceeded the authority during the investigation in the 2000s. He thanked the parents of the deceased girl, without whom “I would not know about the history and would not resume the investigation.”

I know that this will not drown out the pain of the Malgorzata family, but I hope that finding a criminal who is really responsible for her death will be a small compensation for them.

Zbigniew Ziobro
Minister of Justice of Poland
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