Two brothers have gone on trial accused of murdering their housemate after his skeleton was discovered months later in undergrowth near the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal.
But one of them has admitted killing him.
Leeds Crown Court heard a man out walking in Ravensthorpe on March 14 this year saw a mound he thought might be scrap metal but when he prodded the plastic open with a stick he saw a leg bone.
Nicholas Lumley, QC, prosecuting said after he alerted police officers then found the skeleton of Marcin Siarczynski shrouded in material.
He told the jury today (Tues) Mr Siarczynski had lived with fellow Poles, Pawel and Krysztof Olszewski at an address in nearby Jessamine Street in the early months of last year.
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It was the Crown’s case that “together they killed him and disposed of his body, covered in silt and dead leaves, a figure shrouded in various layers of material.”
Krzysztof Olszewski, 21, recently of Crawshaw Street, Ravensthorpe and Pawel Olszewski, 25 of Bromley Street, Dewsbury each deny the murder of Mr Siarczynski between April 30 and July 31 last year.
Mr Lumley told the jury Krysztof Olszewski has admitted he killed his housemate.
“In essence he admits manslaughter but that is a version the prosecution have rejected,” Mr Lumley said. “We say he is guilty of his murder.”
He told the jury they could therefore be sure the prosecution had the right man in the right place at the right time.
He said Olszewski’s brother denied any involvement in what had happened although he accepted Mr Siarczynski had stayed with them for some weeks.
Mr Lumley said the prosecution did not need to prove how death occurred.
Watch our video from the scene on the day the body was discovered
“The body, intact when placed there, lay in the dense undergrowth for many months through the summer, autumn and winter of last year,” he said.
“When the floods came no doubt the body would have been under water for many days. By the time that it was found the body’s flesh and tissue had all but disappeared.”
That meant any signs of bruising or of an assault had also gone and because of the decomposition no doctor was able to say how he met his death.
“This was what the defendants wanted to happen,” Mr Lumley added. “They wanted to hide the body so that no-one would find it in time to discover how it came to be there and how he came to die.”
By the time checks were made at the house in Jessamine Street new tenants were living there and there was a new carpet in the living room.
But Mr Lumley told the jury that when it was rolled back it revealed a section of the underlay had been removed and replaced but some of the remaining underlay was still bloodstained.
A forensic scientist also found blood splashes and spots on the wall and wooden floor although efforts had been made to clean the area. They suggested blows into a surface wet with blood and the prosecution said that was the body of Mr Siarczynski.
Most were below knee level, the height indicating the body was at low level or on all fours. He said it was the prosecution case he must have been “on the floor and bleeding when blow after blow, punches perhaps, kicks perhaps, connected with his bleeding body.”
Mr Lumley told the jury: “There can be no sustainable doubt that the blood in the house represents the clearest evidence of a fearsome fatal attack on Marcin in that room.”
He said in Krzysztof Olszewski’s defence statement he appeared to say that following an argument in the kitchen area he stabbed Mr Siarczynski once through the chest in a scuffle and acted alone in disposing of the body.
Mr Lumley said the crown would say the blood staining indicated the attack went well beyond a single stab wound and that his brother was involved.
Mr Siarczynski had a four wheel drive Subaru Forester which he appeared to use daily in the early months of last year but the use tailed off in May and it was last captured on camera when it was taken for scrap in June – just one of the dead man’s belongings sold by the brothers.
Mr Lumley said: “Why do such a thing if Marcin Siarczynski had just gone missing for a few days and you didn’t know where he was?”
He suggested the vehicle could have been used to drive along the canal footpath to dispose of the body and might have been scrapped in case any forensic remained in it.
The trial continues.