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23/09/2021

Teen accused of beating homeless man to death refused bail as judge believes he may endanger the public

Piotr Krowka
A judge has refused bail in the case of a teenager accused of beating a homeless man to death in Maghera.
Adrian Kozak (18), of Craigmore Heights in Maghera, faces a single charge of murder alongside a youth co-accused, also from the Co Derry town.
The 17 year-old, who cannot be named due to his age, was released on bail following an application at Dungannon Youth Court on Tuesday.
However a day later, at Magherafelt Magistrates Court, a similar application on behalf of Kozak was refused by District Judge Paul Copeland over concerns he could be a danger to the public.
PSNI Detective Inspector Ashley Wright also told the judge it was his belief that Kozak was the "main instigator" in the violent death of "vulnerable" Polish national Piotr Krowka (pictured).
The remains of Mr Krowka (36) were found at a property on the Glen Road, Maghera, on April 3.
He had suffered a violent death caused by a blunt force trauma to his head, chest, abdomen and left arm, the court heard.
Objecting to bail, the Detective Inspector said the victim had been living rough in Maghera since Christmas and was last seen alive around 9pm on March 31 being followed by a person police believe was Kozak.
He said there was an initial assault which was interrupted by a member of the public who told police that Kozak then ran off.
The 18 year-old is then believed to have sought assistance from a group of youths congregating in the area, the detective inspector said. The court heard one of those is believed to have been Kozak's 17-year-old co-accused.
It's then alleged the pair carried out an "unrelenting" sustained assault which lasted up to 45 minutes and which resulted in Mr Krowka's death.
When interviewed on a number of occasions, Krowka refused to make comment.
DI Wright said that to date, no motive has been established for the attack and police feel opposing bail is "necessary to protect the public".
He said police believed the 18 year-old was the principle and main aggressor having carried out the initial assault on Mr Krowka and the discovery of blood on one of his shoes.
He believed if the accused was released he could endanger the local community and interfere with witnesses.
He also raised concern that accused could leave the jurisdiction.
The officer said they were also concerned Kozak could commit further offences as he was a suspected member of a criminal gang calling themselves the ‘Magherafia’, involved in serious anti-social behaviour in the area.
Defence barrister Liam McStay argued that Kozak should be granted bail to live with his parents, who were present in court for the video-link hearing.
He added that Mr and Mrs Kozak - who sat silently in court - were in the process of moving to Ballymena, and as of next month would no longer reside in Maghera.
He said the only distinction between Kozak and the co-accused was that the 18 year-old had one minor breach of police bail when he failed to return home from a disco before his 9pm curfew.
Mr McStay said there had been no suggestion of any interference with witnesses during his six months on bail, and pointed out police had taken his passport.
Refusing bail and remanding Kozak in custody, Judge Copeland said he was satisfied by the evidence that if released the accused may endanger the public.
He said: "I have to consider the case before me, the concerns by police and what has been rehearsed here by a very senior police officer.
"This was an horrendous attack on someone in a defenceless position. There is still no perceived motive.
"This speaks of someone with the capability to inflict a cruel, heartless degree of violence which would cause any court alarm."
He added: "My concern is shifting towards protection of the public."
Kozak will appear again before Magherafelt Magistrates Court via video-link on November 14.

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