Saturday, 07. December 2013 - 10:12
27. 04. 12. - 08:00
A bus driver who bludgeoned a young British student to death in Poland last year has begged to be freed because he "had a wife and family to care for" after he appeared in court.
The battered body of Kate Zaks, 21, an art student at the University of Kent, was found lying in a mud-filled ditch close to a railway track in a remote suburb of Krakow last July.
A postmortem revealed she had drowned after being struck over the head several times with a hard object.
Police launched a manhunt and within days had tracked down bus driver Mirolsaw Lukaszewski, 45, to the small town of Skarzysko-Kamienna, 150km from the city.
He confessed to the killing immediately.
Yesterday afternoon Lukaszewski appeared in court and told how he had beaten Miss Zaks with a metal brake pipe he kept below his seat after he had tried to wake her and an argument had broken out.
He then asked the court for forgiveness saying he had children too, as well as financial problems that he needed to work to overcome.
He said the attack had come at a time when he was under enormous emotional pressure and he had simply cracked - and he appealed for forgiveness.
Miss Zak’s devastated parents Gregory and Violetta who had flown over from their home in Staplecross near Robertsbridge, East Sussex, for the hearing sat in horror as the killer pleaded with the judge for mercy.
At one point, overcome with emotion, Viola Zaks left the courtroom.
Miss Zaks who was born in London, held dual British-Polish nationality and was educated at the £11,000-a-year Buckswood School in Guestling near Hastings, had gone to Krakow as part of her art history course and was doing work experience at a local gallery.
She had been due to return in a few weeks when she met her killer on night bus 601 after a night out with a friend on July 30, 2011.
In court Lukaszewski, who already has a record for domestic violence, said there had been a handful of people on the bus.
Miss Zaks had been asleep on the first two seats.
Behind her were two other passengers and behind them a group of teenagers.
Lukaszewski told the court that after reaching the end of the line he had tried to wake Miss Zaks, the last passenger, and that when he couldn’t he’d decided to drive on to the depot.
He then said that after a couple of minutes Miss Zaks had woken up and asked him where they were going.
"She was in a bad mood and an argument broke out," he said.
It was at this point that Miss Zaks’ mother, Violetta, left the courtroom.
According to Lukaszewski, Miss Zaks demanded he stop the bus and grabbed his shirt.
He then took his brake pipe and began hitting her.
"I don’t know how many times," he said.
He then said her body fell out of the bus and into a ditch.
"I thought she was still alive and so I decided to carry on," he said.
He told the court he had thrown the pipe away a few streets later and that when he reached the depot he changed his clothes, went home, and threw the clothes he had been wearing during the attack away.
He then woke his wife and daughter and drove to Skarzysko-Kamienna where they stayed with his wife’s parents.
Lukaszewski has denied murder.
He faces life in prison.
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