Arkadiusz Jóźwik: murdered for being Polish?

Arkadiusz Jóźwik: murdered for being Polish?


Written by: Harmit Athwal

On Saturday night, 27 August, Arkadiusz Jóźwik and two friends were attacked as they ate a pizza outside a Harlow takeaway. Arkadiusz Jóźwik was knocked out and suffered head injuries. The 40-year-old died two days later in hospital.

Police have said they are keeping ‘an open mind about the motive’ and that ‘there is no direct evidence at this time to say that this incident was racially motivated.’ However, when Arkadiusz’s brother, Radek, was interviewed he said something different, ‘The police have told us he was attacked because they heard him and his friends speaking the Polish language … He was standing eating pizza and they picked on him because of that. He does not speak much English. The young teenagers are so aggressive.’ Six teenagers have been arrested in connection with the death and all have been released on bail until October.

According to the IRR’s records, over the past nine years three other Polish people have been killed in racially motivated attacks and two others were murdered by a man who thought his victims were Polish (one was from the Czech Republic and the other from the UK).

07/13 Ivo Spratek, 40, and Helen Dawson, 48, Bradford

A couple beaten and killed by their housemate Austin Brayford who was caught after confessing to a waitress after the murders, telling her: ‘You’d understand if you knew them, they were bad people. It’s not like I went out and stabbed them, they were Polish, they were in my flat, they were in my house shouting and screaming so I killed them.’ Ivo Spratek was actually from the Czech Republic and Helen Dawson was British. Austin Brayford also told police ‘They don’t deserve to live in our country. There are too many of them, I hate Polish. Polish people are pains in the a***.’ In October 2014, he was given two life sentences for the murders and ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years.

05/10, Marcin Bilaszewski, 19, Wood Green, London

A Polish teenager died after being stabbed outside Finsbury park tube station. His attacker, Alphonse Kruizinga, was said to be racist towards Polish people in particular and blamed Poland for the Second World War. He was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to five years.

07/09 Marek Muszynski, 40, Newry, Northern Ireland

A Polish man died after being attacked in the street in Newry, Northern Ireland. He was allegedly taunted with ‘Go back to your own country, you’re not wanted in Ireland,’ and then savagely beaten and robbed. Adrian Cunningham was jailed for 11 years after admitting murder and Lindsay White was jailed for 14 years after being found guilty at trial.

08/07 Adam Michalski, 24, Wrexham

Adam Michalski, a Polish migrant worker, was stabbed to death in a Wrexham street as he tried to get away from his assailant. In December 2007, Thomas Blue, 25, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 17 years to be served, after being found guilty of the murder which he said was in self defence. The trial was told how he abused Adam for being Polish and then later stabbed him four times. The judge said he was satisfied that there was a racist element.

Related links

IRR Submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on hate crime and its violent consequences

IRR News: Deaths with a (known or suspected) racial element 2000 onwards

IRR News: Eastern European workers under attack

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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