A killer gang have been jailed for a combined total of 49 years for the manslaughter of a Doncaster dad who they wrongly thought had stolen drugs and money from them.
Five men received jail terms of up to 10 years and three months each at Sheffield Crown Court today in relation to the death of Adam Szurgocinski last September.
Mateusz Halabura, 25, Pawel Wegorzewski, 20, Rafal Palinski, 29, Jaroslaw Owczarczyk, 32 and Sebastian Mariusz Gurski, 31, all originally from Poland but now living in the Doncaster area, had all admitted manslaughter last week halfway through a trial for murder.
But Mr Szurgocinski’s partner Joanna Krzyczkowska said today the jail terms were not long enough - after Halabura could be heard celebrating as he was taken down to the cells.
Mr Szurgocinski and his friend Darius Bogusz were called to the home of Halabura in Jubilee Road, Wheatley, on the morning of September 14 following a burglary at the property, with £2,800 in cash and several items of cannabis among the stolen items.
Halabura and the others suspected Mr Szurgocinski and Mr Bogusz of taking the money and drugs, with Bogusz given a beating before the fatal attack on Mr Szurgocinski.
Mr Szurgocinski, who was 26, was then kicked and punched - with one of the blows to his head proving fatal.
The gang waited almost 30 minutes before calling an ambulance as they came up with a story to tell the police, with three of them leaving the house.
Halabura and Wegorzewski told police they had disturbed intruders who attacked Mr Szurgocinski and got Bogusz to back up their account.
The guilty pleas of the five men, made on the basis they had not intended to kill Mr Szurgocinski, were only made after barristers for them had attempted to get the charges against them thrown out.
After the application was rejected by Justice Stephen Males, the men then all entered guilty pleas for manslaughter, which were accepted by the prosecution.
None of the men have ever said what happened in the house and who was responsible for the fatal blow that killed Mr Szurgocinski.
Halabura, of Jubilee Road, Owczarczyk, of Raby Road, Wheatley, and Palinski, of Fenland Road, Thorne, were all sentenced to 10 years and three months in jail, with Gurski, of no fixed abode, given nine years and three months, and Wegorzewski, of Balby Road, nine years.
Halabura was also given an additional two-year sentence for perverting the course of justice which will run concurrently to his manslaughter sentence.
Bogusz, aged 32, also of Jubilee Road, was also sentenced to 16 months in jail after admitting perverting the course of justice.
All of the men will serve half their terms in prison and the rest out on licence.
Sentencing, Justice Males said it was clear Mr Szurgocinski and Bogusz had been summoned to the house in order ‘to inflict violence upon them, either as a punishment for what they had done or in an attempt to force them to say what they had done with the proceeds, or perhaps a combination of both’.
He added: “I accept there is no evidence that these defendants other than Halabura were involved in drug dealing, although it is clear Halabura regarded them as men on whom he could safely call to administer the beatings which them occurred.”
Justice Males said there was a 25-minute delay between Mr Szurgocinski suffering the fatal injury and an ambulance being called.
He said: “It is apparent that the defendants used the time between Adam Szurgocinski sustaining his injuries and the summoning of an ambulance to concoct a false story.
“Although the evidence suggests that the delay in calling an ambulance while this story was concocted in all probability made little difference, for all the defendants knew it could have made the difference between life and death.”
The judge also praised South Yorkshire Police for their handling of the case and use of CCTV and telephone evidence to expose the defendants’ false story.
Joanna Krzyczkowska, Mr Szurgocinski’s partner, was too upset to speak to the media after the sentencing.
But she provided the following statement to The Star after the hearing on behalf of the rest of his family.
“Adam was a much-loved partner, father, son and brother,” she said.
“The day Adam died it broke our hearts. Our lives will never be the same again. We miss him every day and wish that we could have him back. We love him so much.
“We would like to thank the police for the work that they have done to convict the people that are responsible for killing Adam.
“We are not happy with the sentences that they received in court today. They should have been going to prison for much longer because they took the life of Adam.”
Detective Inspector Sean Bird, deputy senior investigating officer, said: “Although the men have offered no explanation as to what happened to Adam, they have admitted their part in his death. Hopefully this should help Adam’s family find some peace moving forward.
“A team of officers worked tirelessly over a number of months and arrested a total of 16 people, before charging the five men with murder and one with perverting the course of justice.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved with this lengthy and complex investigation.”