Meat factory worker stabs poker opponent with ‘kill-floor’ knife

By Natasha Reid

A meat factory worker told Gardaí that he “probably” got the knife that he used on the factory’s ‘kill floor’ from his kitchen before using it to kill his poker opponent at their Cavan home.

The 39-year-old stabbed his housemate twice after losing hundreds of euro to him in a New Year’s Eve poker game.

Tomasz Paszkiewicz has pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the manslaughter of fellow Polish man Marek Swider (40) at their home on Dublin Street, Ballyjamesduff, on January 1, 2018.

The Central Criminal Court has heard that the farm worker died of two stab wounds to his upper body.

‘Lost all his money’

The jury spent Tuesday morning hearing the contents of the accused man’s final interviews with Gardaí following his arrest. He had handed himself in at a Cork Garda station three days after the stabbing, after spending those days criss-crossing the country by bus.

Inspector John Callinan testified that his interviewers had put the statement of a witness to Mr. Paszkiewicz. This man had said that the accused and the deceased had been playing poker and that the accused had lost all his money.

“Tomasz grabbed the money and put it into his top. Tomasz go to kitchen,” stated Zdenek Hebron, who also gave evidence in the trial.

“Tomasz tell Marek: ‘Come with me outside.’ Marek came inside holding his stomach and says: ‘This idiot stabbed me; knife in my stomach. Please call ambulance.’”

The accused told Gardaí that he did not remember this or “any words said by me”. He was asked at the end of his interview if he had anything to add, and he referred to Mr. Hebron’s statement.

“Zdenek says I go to kitchen,” he noted. “I don’t remember this. This upsets me. I’m surprised Zdenek says this and I can’t remember.”

He was reminded that the witness had not seen him take a knife.

“But probably,” he replied, agreeing that he didn’t have it playing cards. “Kitchen must be where I got it,” he said.

He was also asked what thoughts were going through his head when he was standing face to face with the deceased, the knife in his hand.

“This is not me. Power move my hand over,” he replied. “I look at his face but I don’t see his face. I don’t have any thoughts in my brain. I not decide move my hand to stab him.”

‘I have to take responsibility’

The accused said that he was not making less or more of what had happened.

“I have to take responsibility for killing a man and live with this until my final day,” he said.

The prosecution has now closed its case and the defence has indicated that it will not be going into evidence.

Justice Tara Burns has told the seven men and five women of the jury that they will hear closing speeches from both sides Wednesday morning.