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Polish man accused of murdering his uncle

Marek Sinko. Picture by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker.

A POLISH man has appeared in court accused of battering his uncle to death in a drunken argument over rent.

Ballymena Magistrates Court heard that while 36-year-old Marek Sinko was initially arrested and questioned about the death of 53-year-old Eugeniusz Sinko last October, it was only when police recently received a pathology report stating the cause of death was due to a grade three “traumatic brain injury” the decision was taken to lay a murder charge against him.

Standing handcuffed in the dock, Sinko, from the Townhill Road in Rasharkin, confirmed that he understood the single charge against him.

The body of Mr Sinko, a labourer who been living in the area for a number of years, was found in the front yard of the home he shared with his and nephew on the Townhill Road.

In court, Detective Inspector McCartney gave evidence that he believed he could connect Sinko to the murder and described how the victim had suffered 63 separate injuries.

He said Marek Sinko claimed to have struck his uncle five times in what he himself admitted was a “brutal” fight over rent money when the pair had been drinking heavily and further claimed that his uncle had gone outside to wash himself after the fight while he went to bed.

“That’s been disproved by the receipt of a pathology report which states that the victim would have been unconscious within minutes of the assault if not sooner,” said the senior detective.

He added that police also had evidence of “some cleaning of the scene” in the blood spattered kitchen and that the body of Mr Sinko “may well have been dragged from the kitchen to outside the house.”

Inspector McCartney said while the victim had “63 noted injuries to his body,” the defendant only had “minor” injuries to his hands, telling the court that his claims of striking his uncle five times “is certainly not the picture we are getting from the post mortem.

He told the court that as well as admitting the assault was “brutal,” the defendant had also admitted that “at no time did his uncle attempt to fight back.”

Re-interviewed on Wednesday Inspector McCartney said Marek Sinko “has not changed his stance whatsoever” and maintains he struck the victim five times that he can recall.

The officer said police were objecting to bail amid fears Sinko would flee the jurisdiction.

Defence Solicitor Stewart Ballantine said the defendant himself “acknowledges that this is a tragic case for this man and his family” and that “he had never any intention of hurting his uncle.”

Despite police objections and conceding that it was “somewhat unusual to grant bail for a murder charge in the magistrates court" Judge Broderick said he would free the defendant given all that he had heard of the background and bail history.

Despite this however Sinko was remanded into custody after the Public Prosecution Service said they intended to appeal the judge’s decision.

While that appeal will be heard in the High Court, Sinko will appear again in the magistrates court on 14 June.

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