Bury St Edmunds: Woman was ‘forced’ to help in raid

A MAN accused of planning a burglary in which a “vulnerable” jeweller was stabbed and beaten to death has told a court he was frightened for his own safety.

Jewellery shop owner Peter Avis, 66, was found dead with stab wounds in his flat above Collis & Son in Bury St Edmunds on January 13.

The property had been ransacked and a number of valuable items were missing.

Pyotr Melaniuk, 28, has admitted murder but his alleged accomplices in the burglary, Aleksandra Karpiuk and Pawel Borowiecki, deny conspiracy to burgle.

Yesterday Borowiecki, 31, told Ipswich Crown Court he did not know Mr Avis had been killed until the day after the burglary.

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He said: “I went to a club the following evening and he (Melaniuk) was telling people he had killed someone.”

In a police interview Karpiuk, 27, claimed she was forced to help with the raid and feared her family would be harmed.

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Speaking through an interpreter, Borowiecki said he was not aware of any threats made to Karpiuk, but asked if Melaniuk was a “nasty person”, he added: “As far as I know he was a nasty, violent man and I was worried he would harm my partner.” Karpiuk told police Melaniuk arrived at her home covered in blood and ordered her to drive him to Stansted Airport.

In the interview she said she was told: “If you want your daughter and yourself alive you better co-operate.”

Prosecutor Peter Gair said: “The real tragedy was that Mr Avis was present in his flat and was murdered during the course of the burglary,” he added.

Mr Avis was struck about the face with a glass ash tray and stabbed 13 times, the court heard.

Borowiecki, 31, of Roslyn Road, London, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary.

Karpiuk, 27, of Lake Avenue, Bury, denies the same charge. She also denies assisting an offender by driving Melaniuk to the airport.

Melaniuk, 28, also known by the first name Ireneusz, previously admitted murder and burglary. He has been remanded in custody after being arrested in Poland and extradited to the UK.

Two other men have also admitted their involvement, the court heard. Kamel Kita, 20, of no fixed address but arrested in London, admitted burglary. Pawel Pacian, 34, of Lake Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, admitted handling stolen goods.

The case continues.

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