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Two men found guilty of manslaughter of Lucasz Grabowski

Two men have been found guilty of the manslaughter of Lucasz Grabowski following a trial at Bristol Crown Court.

Mr Grabowski, 32, died in November last year after being found with serious head injuries in Great Western Road, Gloucester.

Krystof Solosciuk, 39, was arrested two days after the incident, and Tomasz Urbaniak, 36, was arrested in Poland in connection with the case in June this year.

Both men had pleaded not guilty to murder but today following several days of deliberation, the jury was given the option of returning a verdict of manslaughter, which they returned a short time later.

Lukasz had become friendly and  involved with the men after meeting  them through his gym in Bristol.

During the five week trial the jury heard that Lukasz had been killed after he stole a large quantity of illegally imported Ukrainian cigarettes from an Organised Crime Group (OCG).

The court heard that in November 2018 Lukasz, along with three others, planned to distribute a consignment of such cigarettes around the UK. A plan was then hatched to steal the load for themselves. Lukasz saw the plan through but once threats from the OCG were received a dispute between him and his friends ensued.

Solosciuk and Urbaniak responded by assaulting Lukasz in an alleyway behind a Gloucester hotel before forcibly bundling him into the rear seats of his own black Audi A7 motor car.

A third man, Krystian Czelewicz, 37, is also alleged to have been involved and is still wanted in connection with Lucasz's death.

The Audi was seen to stop 26 minutes later on Great Western Road opposite the entrance to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

Lukasz's body was deposited on the pavement after which the Audi sped off from the scene.

On the same day two men visited the home of Lucasz's parents in Poland telling them that he had "done something bad" but if he gave them back what he had stolen it would be all right.

By then Lucasz was already dead.

Krystian Czelewicz, is believed to be in Poland and a European Arrest Warrant is currently in place as the National Crime Agency and Polish authorities try to locate him.  

Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Mather said: "Lucasz had clearly got in with a bad crowd and tried to solve his own financial problems by stealing from them.

"Importing and distributing illegal cigarettes is the work of organised crime groups and is worth a lot of money to them.

"Lukasz suffered a violent death which he did not deserve and it shows the level of violence those organised crime groups will go to.    

"This has been a very complex investigation involving officers from our Major Crime Investigation Team, as well as Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, Trading Standards, the National Crime Agency and authorities in Poland. I am pleased that we have been able to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. 

"I hope that this will bring some closure for Lucasz's family, though we are still looking for the third man in the case so the process is not yet complete.

"An arrest warrant is still in place for Krystian Czelewicz, who fled from the UK the day after the attack, and we would appeal to anyone who has information about his whereabouts to come forward."

The family of Lucasz Grabowski has issued the following statement:

These verdicts will not bring Lukasz back to his family.

"Lukasz is missed greatly by his family and friends. We have waited a long time for justice.

"We would like to thank the police for their work and effort in investigating Lukasz’s death and for helping his family both in England and Poland.

"We would also like to thank the witnesses for coming to court to help the police to get justice for Lukasz and us as his family.” 

Sentencing will take place at the Old Bailey in London on Friday (29 November).

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