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Bury St Edmunds: Killer was on the run from Polish prison when he knifed jeweller

PUBLISHED: 11:52 11 October 2012

Collis & Sons jewellers in Abbeygate Street Bury St Edmunds

Collis & Sons jewellers in Abbeygate Street Bury St Edmunds

Archant

A CONVICTED robber murdered a Suffolk jeweller while on the run from a Polish jail, the EADT can reveal today.

Ireneusz Melaniuk stabbed 66-year-old Peter Avis more than a dozen times after fleeing from the authorities in his homeland.

Melaniuk is currently awaiting sentencing by Ipswich Crown Court after he pleaded guilty to Mr Avis’ murder in Bury St Edmunds on January 13.

However, it can now be revealed that Melaniuk was a wanted man in Poland prior to the homicide.

Melaniuk - who uses several names - had been serving a jail term for robbery, but failed to return to prison after being allowed day release.

Despite being on the run, the 28-year-old was able to leave Poland and come to Britain, before returning to Poland after the murder in a bid evade Suffolk Police.

Mr Avis was found dead in bed at his flat above Collis & Son in Abbeygate Street.

He had been beaten about the face with a glass ash tray and stabbed 13 times.

It is understood Melaniuk was not on a European ‘watch list’ prior to Mr Avis’ death, so British authorities would not have known he was a wanted man.

Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley said the town had been “deeply shocked” by the tragic murder of Mr Avis and there were some serious questions that needed answering.

Vicky Ford, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, said she and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer were already involved with trying to tighten up controls between European Union countries over the cross-border tracking of criminals.

This follows two cases this year involving rapists convicted in eastern Europe who were found to be living in Ipswich, but were not obligated to inform police of their convictions.

Now Mrs Ford will be raising Melaniuk’s case with the Home Office after he managed to get into the country despite being a fugitive.

Mrs Ford said: “We need to have the basic protections regarding a handful of dangerous criminals. Does that mean demanding the sharing of information by countries? - That’s the question we are asking.

“If you have relatively open borders, then you need to have the ability to protect yourself from very dangerous people if they are moving across borders, which means sharing information.

“It seems to me that if there was some sort of obligation to share that information it could have stopped this situation. We should be asking why isn’t there an obligation to share this sort of information across the 27 countries of the European Union.”

Mr Ruffley added: “On the face of it, the first question we should ask is how did an escaped criminal on the run from Poland not get picked up at the UK border. Either he had false documents that were not detected or he may have been smuggled in.

“Either way, this certainly reminds us of the need to tighten our borders so that heinous crimes like this don’t happen on our doorstep in Suffolk.”

When asked about Melaniuk, a UK Border Agency spokesman said: “Where foreign law enforcement agencies inform us of individuals who may pose a risk to the public travelling to the UK, authorities are able to take action.

“Passengers travelling to the UK are checked against a range of watch-lists. The onus for flagging someone’s criminal history lies with the police in their home country - we would then use this information to decide whether they should be allowed into the UK.”

MELANIUK was finally captured in Poland on February 16.

The Polish authorities have confirmed Melaniuk failed to return to jail in Biala Podlaska – around 100 miles east of Warsaw - after walking out of the prison on day release, prior to murdering Mr Avis.

A spokesman for the Polish Embassy in London said: “He was in prison, where he was serving a sentence for robbery in Chelm (near the Ukraine border).

“Apparently he was given leave and did not return from that leave. During that time escaped to Britain.”

Melaniuk’s real name is believed to be Irenuesz Marciewicz. However, in Poland he is known by the name of Piotr Melaniuk.

While in England he had associates in the Tottenham, Hackney, and Stoke Newington areas of London.

He is 5ft 6in tall and is missing the two middle fingers of his right hand above the knuckles, along with his thumb from the same hand.

Police have said Melaniuk is also known to use the names Piotr Kelaniuil, Irek Marciewicz and Kamil Wislak.

He was extradited back to England in early July, and subsequently pleaded guilty at a hearing before Ipswich Crown Court to murdering Mr Avis.

His name appears on the court lists as Ireneusz Melaniuk with a date of birth of January 3, 1984.

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